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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 March 2006, 16:58 GMT
Anger over UK gun register delay
Geoff Hoon
Geoff Hoon said the government was committed to a register
The government has said it still plans to set up a UK gun register amid mounting criticism over its delay.

Commons Leader Geoff Hoon said the government was still committed to a register as the UK prepares to mark 10 years since the Dunblane massacre.

On 13 March 1996, Thomas Hamilton shot dead 16 children, their teacher, injured 12 others and killed himself at Dunblane Primary School, Perthshire.

Campaigners demanded a register of gun owners and licence applicants.

Call for debate

Legislation was rushed through Parliament but it has not yet been made law because of a number of technical issues.

Campaigners have accused the government of "betraying" the victims after an admission by Whitehall on Wednesday that the project was delayed again by a month.

During Thursday's Commons exchanges, Labour MP Ann Cryer called for a parliamentary debate to find out why there was still no register a decade after the "horrific massacre".

Thomas Hamilton
Thomas Hamilton killed 16 children and a teacher

Mr Hoon replied: "I recognise the disappointment, and I share it, that the national firearms licensing management scheme has taken so long to deliver.

"The Government remains fully committed to the project and it is planned to be rolled out to all forces in England and Wales from June, assuming that the final pilot in May is successful."

With regards to Scottish legislation, a Scottish Executive spokesperson said: "The criminal history system (CHS), which is accessible on-line to all Scottish forces, provides a database of firearms licence holders in Scotland.

"Meanwhile a project is currently underway, led by the Home Office, to create a national register, to be held on the Police National Computer (PNC) for England and Wales."

Dunblane PE teacher Eileen Harrild, 54, has recounted her experiences during the shooting in a television documentary.

It was literally a lottery as to who lived and who died
Dunblane PE teacher Eileen Harrild

"It was an absolute lottery and it is something I have spent a lot of time thinking about: why did I survive and other people didn't?" she told Five's Dunblane: A Decade On, which will be broadcast on 8 March.

"It was literally a lottery as to who lived and who died."

Mrs Harrild said she would mark the 10 years by making posies for each victim and laying them at Dunblane Cemetery.

She has given up teaching and has had several operations to repair her injuries.

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