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Last Updated: Monday, 19 January, 2004, 11:59 GMT
Birmingham hosts gun debate
A two-day forum on the issue of gun crime is being held in Birmingham.

Law enforcement experts, community groups and Government officials were in the city on Monday for the event, which is being hosted by the Home Office.

The conference will look at how Britain's burgeoning weapons culture might be overcome.

Birmingham became notorious for its association with gun crime after Letisha Shakespeare, 17, and 18-year-old Charlene Ellis were shot dead at a New Year party last year.

'Tough sentences'

Several other people have been killed with firearms in the city in the 12 months since their deaths.

Home Office minister Caroline Flint, who will deliver the closing speech on Tuesday, said: "In some parts of the country, and among some young people, the gun is seen as the ultimate status symbol, with young people carrying or using imitation weapons to gain respect or intimidate others.

"Although in the UK the level of gun crime remains low compared with other countries, while people are being killed by guns on our streets we will not be complacent.

"Tough sentences for people convicted of gun crime, as well as new controls on air weapons and imitation guns, will all come into force within days."

Representatives from pressure groups including the Disarm Trust and Mothers Against Murder and Aggression will be at the event, which is being held at the Botanical Gardens.




SEE ALSO:
Fifth man in court over shootings
14 Nov 03  |  England
Mothers' campaign against guns
10 Nov 03  |  Real Story
Gun amnesty launched
31 Mar 03  |  UK


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