In August last year we covered the tragic case of Stanley Metcalf, (see: ‘Not nice work from the Network‘ 16-08-18) the six year old boy who was killed by an airgun pellet. At the time facts surrounding the case were sketchy. Beyond knowing that the incident had taken place at the home of the child’s great grandfather, Albert Grannon, during a family party, details of the exact circumstances had to wait until the conclusion of a court case this week, which saw Grannon jailed for three years.
However, that dearth of background had not stopped the Gun Control Network* from grabbing the opportunity to press its case for further legal controls on airguns. Shoddily exploiting what it must have seen as a mouth-watering PR opportunity, at the time of the event its spokesman said: “If Britain had these laws (the licencing of airguns) then the gun would have been locked away, a licence and medical certificate would have to be provided for being allowed to keep them. How many more children are going to die playing around with air guns? As is now clear the child had not been handling the weapon, just as it is equally clear the existence of a gun cabinet, medical certificate or licence would have made no difference whatsoever, because what happened came as a direct result of Grannon’s carelessness. That the Gun Control Network was happy to make Stanley Metcalf responsible in part for his own death and to do so when the family would still have been in a state of shock, tells us much about the sort of bug-eyed fanaticism that guides its thinking. Someone from the Gun Control Network owes the Metcalf family an apology, but neither they nor we should hold our breath.
*Years of attempting to force the Gun Control Network to come clean about exactly how many supporters it has have all failed, although under questioning by a House of Commons committee, co-founder Gill Marshall-Andrews was forced to admit that actual signed up supporters numbered no more than “a couple of dozen”. That must have been some kind of high water mark, as it is widely believed that its membership is now in the low single figures.