In Britain's troubled province of Northern Ireland, where shooting incidents have increased during continuing clashes between Catholics and Protestants, the question of firearms control is being increasingly debated.
SV INT. Rifleman shooting at indoor rifle range in Belfast
CU Man firing .22 rifle (4 shots)
CU John Hume, M.P., interviewed
CU Captain Mitchell interviewed
CU PAN Along Rifles in racks at gun dealers
CU Revolvers on table
SV INT. John Campbell, gunsmith, interviewed
CU Man handling automatic pistol
SV Man taking rifle from rack and loads magazine (2 shots)
CU Twenty five yard range targets
CU Sportman loading rifle at range
TRANSCRIPT: John Hume (SEQ. 3): "I think that Northern Ireland needs to be disarmed of both legal and illegal guns, because they're equally lethal. And I think the only way to do so is to ask all people who hold licences to store their guns in central armouries all over Northern Ireland, and to take them out whenever they want to use them for bona fide sporting purposes."
QUESTION: "Captain Mitchell, it's suggested that there should be central armouries for licensed sporting guns, what's your reply to that?"
MITCHELL (SEQ. 4): "Well, in the first place I think it's an interference -- a very gross interference -- with the liberty of the individual, to take his property which he has bought, and paid for, and has a licence to hold. And these weapons are actually held for quite a variety of reasons. They are held for protective purposes by farmers and so on. They are held for competitive purposes by certain individuals. They are held by certain organisations for security purposes. And going further than that, if they were taken in, there would be a tremendous problem security-wise for the police."
CAMPBELL (SEQ. 7): "There's quite a lot of guns that have been pulled in here and tested at the forensic labs, because certain people were shot or some degradation was done. And they've all come out with a clean bill of health. I would far rather get the Thompson machine guns and those sort of things gathered up. Nobody in Northern Ireland has a licence for those."
Initials VH/1330 VH/1415
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In Britain's troubled province of Northern Ireland, where shooting incidents have increased during continuing clashes between Catholics and Protestants, the question of firearms control is being increasingly debated.
A BBC television team has been taking a look at the problem, especially as it affects the 108 legitimate shooting clubs and the holders of 73,000 gun licences. They asked whether the Northern Ireland Government is justified in wanting to restrict legally held weapons, while security forces step up their search for illegal arms.
Members of Parliament at Stormont have alleged a big increase in gun-club membership since the current troubles began. John Hume is one Stormont M.P. who feels strongly on the subject:
The other side of the picture was given by Captain Mitchell, a gun-club enthusiast:
Belfast gunsmith John Campbell was asked if he knew of any evidence to link recent shooting incidents with the gun-clubs:
There's a useful commentary to this film by Larry Harris, backed by some good natural sound during the gun-club sequences. But the report does assume a fairly specialised knowledge of the Ulster situation. And alternative commentary is provided for subscribers preferring a more general approach.