Stimulating a national discussion on gun ownership, and getting the British public thinking about alternatives to the current system, is undoubtedly going to be a difficult endeavor.
After all, critics are likely to point to data they feel indicates current firearms laws are "working" – for instance, the gun homicide rate
in England and Wales is extremely low, about one for every million people. By way of comparison, there are around 160 times as many gun-related homicides in the US, despite the country's population being a mere five times larger, roughly.
Nonetheless, Dave recognizes the group's objectives are of the long-term variety, and it'll take years of campaigning before that national discourse is finally conducted, if at all – but he thinks if it does come to pass, it'll be worth the wait, and effort.
"The UK used to have virtually no gun laws and it never caused problems, but I'm not saying we should return to the 1920s, when anyone could walk into a shop and buy a gun no questions asked. Background checks and other safeguards should obviously be in place. But, there are so many different gun control regimes in the world, with both good and bad elements – why can't we pick and choose the best from what's already on offer?" he asks.
Dave points, for example, to the Czech Republic's gun control system
. There, guns are available to anyone with a firearms license, which can be obtained in similar fashion to a driving license – passing a gun proficiency exam and medical examination, and having a clean criminal record.
There are around 300,000 gun owners in the country – 2.72 percent of the population – of which 240,000 have a "concealed carry" permit. Despite the comparatively liberal availability of legal firearms, the total number
of gun-related homicides in the country isn't far-removed from the UK's.
Further afield, New Zealand is home
to perhaps the most liberal firearm legislation in the Pacific region, focused primarily on vetting current and potential owners, rather than registering or banning specific firearms. In total, 230,000 Kiwis – 4.9 percent of the population – own a total of 1.1 million firearms.
There, owning a gun requires a police-approved license. Applicants are vetted to ensure they can securely store firearms, are obliged to attend a safety program administered by the national Mountain Safety Council, and pass a written safety test.
Police will also interview applicants and two character witnesses, to determine whether they're "fit and proper" to own a gun. A criminal record or associations, or history of domestic violence, almost always mean an application will be declined.
Despite this, between 2007 – 2014 the average number
of gun-related homicides in New Zealand every year was a paltry eight, despite the country's population rising, and the number of guns in circulation – and shooters – increasing year-on-year.