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EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 8 January, 2003, 08:52 GMT
Advert attacked for glamorising guns
Air rifle
Airguns were described as 'brilliant' in the advert
A newspaper promotion offering machine gun-style airguns for the price of a telephone call has been branded "irresponsible" by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The Daily Sport carried four adverts for the guns - complete with ammunition - which could be purchased through a premium rate phone line.

The objections come at a time of heightened government concern about the glamorising of guns.

Among the guns advertised were a giant pump-action airgun described as "brilliant".

Live rounds

There was an Uzi machine gun and a Beretta air machine pistol which "sprays ammo in rapid bursts", according to the advert.

The phone line cost 1 a minute, totalling 20 for the average order.

The bottom of the advert carried a warning that people had to be 18 or over to buy the guns and that people should not try to remodify them.

This is irresponsible. It's promoting guns as something that's exciting and exhilarating

Christopher Graham, Advertising Standards Authority
But the ASA said the advertisers had been irresponsible in not doing enough to ensure the guns were not bought by children - a claim they rejected.

It said images of the guns glamorised the use of offensive weapons and upheld six complaints from members of the public.

Speaking on BBC1's Breakfast News, the authority's Christopher Graham, said: "The language of the advert is all about the gun culture.

"It's about M16 carbines, it's about Uzis, it's about rapid action, it's about spraying 300 rounds of ammunition in very few seconds.

"This is irresponsible. It's promoting guns as something that's exciting and exhilarating and promotions have not to do that."

Gun reform

There has been particular concern this week about the number of legal, non-offensive weapons which can be adapted to fire live rounds.

As part of a review of firearms law announced by Home Secretary David Blunkett on Monday, the government is considering a ban on replicas which can be remodified.

The changes to the gun laws came just days after two teenage girls were killed in a hail of bullets outside a New Year's eve party.

See also:

20 Nov 02 | England
06 Nov 02 | Politics
23 Oct 02 | England
18 Sep 02 | Politics
24 Jan 02 | England
30 Jul 02 | England
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