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Tuesday, November 4, 1997 Published at 00:17 GMT

UK: Politics

Total handgun ban set to become law in Britain

The ban on handguns has been extended to cover the disabled and competition shooters

A total ban on handguns in Britain is set to become law after the Government extended it to include the disabled and competition shooters.

The Firearms (Amendment) Bill extends the handgun ban introduced in the wake of the Dunblane massacre to include all smaller .22 weapons.

On Monday, MPs voted by 291 votes to 155 to overturn an amendment by the House of Lords that would have allowed disabled people to carry on using small-calibre weapons.

Later, they voted by 292 votes to 160 to reverse another amendment by peers, which would have allowed international competition shooters to continue practising at approved centres.

The measure now returns to the Lords, where peers can try to insist on their amendments but are unlikely to do so, allowing the measure to go for Royal Assent.
[ image: The ban includes all .22 calibre weapons]
The ban includes all .22 calibre weapons

A ban on larger handguns was introduced by the previous Conservative Government. The ban was extended to include .22 weapons by the new Labour Government.

Once the ban on pistols is in place, ministers will look at other weapons not within the scope of the legislation, including muzzle-loading revolvers and replica weapons.

The ban comes after a long campaign launched by the families of those killed by the gunman Thomas Hamilton, who shot dead 16 children and their teacher in the gymnasium at Dunblane Primary School on March 13, 1996.

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