Snowdrop campaign to change the law

THE Dunblane massacre in 1996 brought gun ownership in Britain to the forefront of the political agenda for the first time.

The Snowdrop Campaign, set up to reform gun laws, blossomed into a nationwide movement. Its co-ordinator, Ann Pearston, founded the campaign after discovering that nine victims of Michael Ryan at Hungerford and all 17 of Thomas Hamilton’s at Dunblane had been slain by legally-held handguns.

Her concern was shared by the public, forcing the government to pass the Firearm (Amendment) Act in 1997, banning handguns above .22 calibre and restricting smaller calibre weapons to secure gun clubs.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Following a nationwide gun amnesty, 160,000 handguns were surrendered to police and the Snowdrop Campaign disbanded, seemingly with its work done.

But six years later, Britain is again faced with a gun crisis. Worryingly, the increase includes a rise of 46 per cent in the use of handguns.

As a response, the government is banning the use of replicas and suggested plans for a new gun amnesty. However, criminals are unlikely to consider handing in illegal weapons.