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UK PM favors stricter gun laws after London teenager deaths

[JURIST] UK Prime Minister Tony Blair [official website] said Sunday that he is in favor of toughening Britain's gun laws [press release] after the deaths of three teenagers [BBC report] in London during the past month. Blair said that the applicable age to receive a minimum 5-year jail sentence for illegal gun possession should be lowered from the current age of 21 to include violators from 17-21 years old. Blair rejected contentions that the recent deaths are due to a general problem with Britain's youth, saying the issues stem from a "specific criminal culture" involving gangs and guns. Blair also said gun law violators who offer evidence against gangs should receive protection for their testimony.

Despite UK Home Office [official website] statistics [official website] showing an overall reduction in fatal shootings within Great Britain, news of the teenage murders have brought gang violence to the forefront of the British political agenda. While Conservative MPs too are in favor of stricter gun laws, spokesman David Davis [official website] said the issues underlying illegal gun possession, such as broken homes or drug activity, should be also analyzed, rather than legislators acting solely when teenage murders make the news. Reuters has more.

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