Mad inventor and Malcolm Hardee Comedy Award designer John Ward used to be a member of a local shooting club. It was local – thank the Lord – to him, not to me.
He used to keep guns in his house.
“Normal people,” (I use the term ‘normal’ loosely when talking of John Ward) “are not allowed to keep guns in their house now?” I asked him. “What was the deal back then? I think you had to have a securely lockable safe in your house and a policeman came round to check on you every year?”
He told me:
It was every five years in ‘my day’ – but it may have changed by now…
It’s not strictly true you can’t keep guns in your home – rifles and shotguns can be kept at home but, once again, in a steel, approved, gun box or safe.
Any supposedly ‘normal person’ who goes hunting, target shooting etc. can apply for an FAC – a Fire Arms Certificate – but it’s down to if you fit the criteria of the local PC Plod in your area as it is ‘open to interpretation’ by each individual force – The fact you are the local hit man or drive-by shootist for the Borehamwood Massive might not go down too well and could provide assorted “Tut-tut, oh what have we got ‘ere then, petal?” sessions in the local Nick.
When I was pistol shooting years ago – before we all had to hand in our weapons following the Dunblane massacre – we honest, law-abiding, licence-owning target shooters said that, once you outlaw guns, it will be only the outlaws that will have them and, as things have turned out, it has happened.
However, I always wanted a Luger pistol because I liked the sheer mechanical side of it – the complex toggle-loading action appealed. Typical German engineering at its finest.
I did actually handle, but not fire, one as a visitor to our (licensed) gun club brought one along to show us.
The temptation to fire it at our targets was there, but I declined.
My reasoning was that it was of the WW11 era and, as such, it may well have been used to take a human life – or lives.
In those days, before legal target pistol shooting was prohibited, it was possible to buy a second-hand Luger legally from bona fide licensed firearms dealers – for about £400 or so upwards.
In much the same way, I would have liked to have owned a Walther P38 – German engineering again – but the above same reservations I had about a second hand Luger applied.
My ownership of a real Luger was never to be realised.
I stopped with post war American and Italian made firearms in my collection because, that way, I knew each round I fired down at the club range was less likely to have caused anybody’s abrupt demise in the past.
Call me old fashioned.