Thugs ‘using spent shells’
DEADLY ‘dum-dum’ bullets are being made by criminals using spent shells from shooting ranges, a leading gun crime campaigner has claimed.
Lucy Cope of Mothers Against Guns said thugs in cities like Manchester are loading guns with home-made bullets designed to explode on impact and cause greater damage.
Ms Cope, whose son was shot dead outside a London nightspot in 2002, wants the government to introduce a law that requires shooting ranges and licensed gun holders to return spent shells before they can buy more ammunition.
She said the M.E.N. (Manchester Evening News) gun murder statistics were `horrific’, and said a DNA database of licensed firearms and the banning of replicas would help tackle a `serious epidemic’ of gun crime.
The campaigner described gun criminals as urban terrorists, and said mandatory 10-year sentences for possessing a firearm would curb their activities. Manchester campaigner Raymond Bell said unsolved murders helped fuel a cycle of revenge.
“Some young people see relatives shot dead and the crime go unsolved,” he said. “Then, because they can get access to guns, they are taking their own justice.”
Mr Bell, of the group Carisma, said better relations between the police and the community in inner city neighbourhoods was key to tackling an `epidemic’ of killing.
Mr Bell said: “Some officers on the ground are antagonising the youths. We need a force that reflects the community, but that won’t happen while there is a climate of mistrust.”
Meanwhile, Moss Side councillor Roy Walters urged people with information about unsolved crimes to talk to the police. He said: “The community is hurt more with every young death. But there are people in the community who know who has committed these crimes.
“If they come forward, the police will do everything in their power to protect them.”
Khan Moghal, of Manchester Council for Community Relations, said it could take years to end the tit for tat gun culture.
He said: “Big communities have these problems.
“There was a time when these gangs were allowed to flourish and they have maintained a link – it’s become a generational thing and it’s not easy to just root it out.”
He added: “If you can get rid of the perpetrators, you can end the spiral, because it will give people a breathing space.”