Nigel Farage, the leader of the U.K. Independence Party, wants handguns legalized and registered in Britain again, 18 years after the horrific massacre of 16 schoolchildren and a teacher in Dunblane, Scotland, led to tightened gun control laws and essentially made handguns illegal. Farage, who has a long and controversial history in politics, said during a radio appearance that the “ludicrous” ban on handguns was a “kneejerk” reaction to Dunblane and should be removed.
The 1997 gun ban, introduced under the Conservative government of Prime Minister John Major, was extended and expanded by his Labour successor, Tony Blair, and kept in place ever since. "I think proper gun licensing is something we've done in this country responsibly and well for a long time, and I think the knee-jerk legislation that Blair brought in that meant that the British Olympic pistol team have to go to France to even practice, was just crackers [crazy],” Farage stated. "If you criminalize handguns, then only the criminals carry the guns. It's really interesting that since Blair brought that piece of law in, gun crime doubled in the next five years in this country." Farage added: "I think that we need a proper gun licensing system, which to a large extent I think we already have, and I think the ban on handguns is ludicrous."
But Farage stopped short of wanting to emulate the gun law model in the U.S., which he called “absolutely crazy.” “[In America] you can go and buy automatic repeating rifles down at the local gun shop that looks more like a supermarket,” he exclaimed.
Prior to his advocacy for legalizing handguns, Farage’s UKIP sparked outrage when party councilor David Silvester suggested that recent inclement weather in Britain was caused by the legalization of same-sex marriage. Farage himself delivered a speech earlier in the week in which he suggested that mothers are “worth less” to employers in the City of London financial center than men. “The fact is, you know, there are now 1 million men who are bringing up families at home with the women out working, so there are some changes happening in society,” he said. “But, overwhelmingly it’s the women that not only have the baby, but really take the responsibility for bringing up the family, and there are some super women who can do that and run a big career, but it’s not an easy thing to do.”
Bizarrely, during a BBC interview Farage seemed to completely dismiss the 2010 manifesto of his own party. “I didn't read it, it was drivel, 486 pages of drivel. I didn't read it, nor did the party leader, it was a nonsense, and we've put that behind us and moved onto a professional footing,” he said. “We had a manifesto, and I'm going to put some inverted commas around it that was produced in 2010, it was basically a series of policy discussion papers that was put up on the website as a manifesto.”
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.