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Sinn Fein MLA calls for Assembly to support ban on sale of pellet guns

13 June, 2007

Sinn Féin Lagan Valley Paul Butler MLA has called for an outright ban on the sale of pellet guns.

Mr Butler said:

"There have been a number of other incidents involving pellet guns over the years and a lot of serious injuries caused by people using these weapons that have also been used extensively in attacks on people's homes where windows were smashed.

"These guns have been used in a number of recent attacks. A 15 year-old boy received an injurer to his eye last month, and in North Belfast a member of the Fire Service was hit in the face with a pellet gun while fighting a fire.

"While these attacks had been on the decrease in recent times there now seems to be an escalation in attacks, which are causing serious injuries. I believe the Assembly should look at a ban on the sale of these weapons particularly to young people who unfortunately seem to be able to buy these weapons quite easily.

"While this issue is a reserved matter, support across the Assembly calling for action and direct pressure from both the Assembly and Executive on the NIO can and should lead to progress." ENDS

Paul Butler said that in the meantime he supported the initiative for a pellet-gun amnesty to remove these weapons from the community. He will be putting a motion down in the Assembly calling for a ban on the sale of pellet guns.

Note to Editors

List of incidents involving pellet guns:

  • December 2003 A man pointed a pellet gun at an ambulance crew while they were attending a callout in the Rosemount Area of Derry. The police arrested a man and seized a BB gun.
  • June 2005 A two-year-old boy was hit on the forehead by a pellet outside his home in West Belfast.
  • June 2005 A 40-year-old man appeared in court in connection with an alleged pellet gun attack in County Down. The man allegedly waved a pellet gun at children playing outside his home.
  • June 2005 Young children fired sweets from a pellet gun at a bus driver as he drove across Derry. The driver was struck on the side when the sweets were fired through the open door of a bus as he drove across the Foyle Bridge.
  • August 2006 A teenager aged 14 was shot in the leg in Portstewart. The pellet had been deeply embedded in his leg.
  • October 2006 A teenage boy was injured in a pellet attack in South Armagh. The 13-year-old was treated in hospital after being hit in the eye.
  • April 2007 A Fire-fighter suffered a facial wound after being shot by a gang armed with pellet guns in North Belfast.
  • May 2007 A 15-year-old youth from Enniskillen Co Fermanagh had surgery to remove a pellet from his neck.

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