Gun control laws need to be evidence based

Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham
Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham

In the current rather febrile atmosphere at Westminster over Brexit, conspiracy theories seem to abound more than ever.

This week a highly fanciful story in one left-leaning national newspaper implicated me in a plot by ‘hard-Brexiteers’ supposedly to undermine the Prime Minister by backing an amendment to the Offensive Weapons Bill which sought to prevent the banning of a certain type of rifle.

I backed this particular amendment because the rifle involved is used by a small number of gun club members, already subject to very stringent controls, many of them disabled and has never ever been used in criminal activity.

I have always been a vociferous advocate of some of the world’s toughest gun control laws that we have in the UK, but they need to be evidence based and it was clear this proposal wasn’t.

A small number of constituents who clearly had not done their research beyond poring over the Guardian then accused me of putting Brexit before gun control.

The fact is that no one had written to me during the consultation in favour of the measure but a number of disabled constituents had written to me to raise their concerns.

The amendment therefore sought to tighten up the regulations further without denying law abiding sportsmen and women their sport. One irate constituent describing himself as a professor assured me that everyone who had signed the amendment with me was a ‘hard-line Brexiteer’ which will be news to my cosignatories and neighbours such as Nicholas Soames and Peter Bottomley, ardent Remainers. I hope the professor demands a rather higher standards of research from his students!

|Also in the news - gridlock in Worthing is set to last until the weekend as emergency gas repairs continue; a Lancing man has been arrested after a fatal collision on the A27 in Arundel which killed a man from Worthing; and Pets at Home is offering free pet care workshops for children throughout half term|

This week we had another opportunity to debate school funding, or in the case of West Sussex, unfair funding, and I have placed a link to the debate and my comments on my website.

Also on the subject of funding in West Sussex I joined six of my colleagues for a meeting with the local government minister Rishi Sunak to make sure he is well aware of the shortcomings we have been facing in our county, not least with the severe funding pressures on adult social care and children.

We look forward to the crucial local government funding settlement due to be announced in December and we are cautiously optimistic that our pleas will be acknowledged.

I was honoured to be asked by 3rd Shoreham Sea Scouts to open their new Accessibility for All lift at their headquarters on Adur Recreation Ground. It is a great addition to this popular venue and will enable them to be even more inclusive of young people with disabilities.

If you would like to get in touch with me, please write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or email me at loughtont@parliament.uk

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