Obeying law would have prevented gun tragedy

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The Star’s coverage of the tragic death of Alex Cole on November 30 reminds me of the “Rambo knife” hysteria of a couple of decades ago.

Many thousands of British people own and use air rifles responsibly for target shooting and pest control and it is incredibly rare that anyone is seriously injured or killed.

Far more people are killed or seriously injured by rugby – shall we ban it?

Britain has some of the strictest gun laws in the world (particularly with respect to airguns), not that they have had any effect on the rise of gun crime, which is largely committed using illegally-imported cartridge weapons, not legally-held air guns.

Most airguns are not classed as firearms legally and are restricted to a power level that makes them about 10 times less powerful than the least powerful cartridge rifle.

The most powerful air weapons are a tiny percentage of air weapons and can only be held under a firearms certificate and kept in a gun safe.

If police officers cannot tell the difference between an air rifle and a real firearm it doesn’t say much for their training.

Airguns are not toys and if the owner of the gun in question had been obeying the law, where owners have to prevent access to unauthorised people such as children, this tragedy would not have happened.

Westley Ruthven