Air weapon laws to be reviewed in light of teenager’s death

Ben Wragge. Picture: WRAGGE FAMILY

Ben Wragge. Picture: WRAGGE FAMILY - Credit: Archant

Air weapon licensing laws are to be reviewed after a teenager died when accidentally shot while playing with his friends in a village.

Floral tributes at Thurston Community College after Ben Wragge's death. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Floral tributes at Thurston Community College after Ben Wragge's death. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY - Credit: Staff photographer

Ben Wragge (full name Benjamin), 13, suffered the wound to the neck while the airgun was being passed around between friends at an address in Old Post Office Lane, Thurston.Several people, including his mother, had attempted to revive Ben when the incident happened on May 1 last year.

An inquest into Ben's death was later held, with Suffolk Coroner Dr Peter Dean writing to the Home Office to request a review of legislation covering the use and manufacture of air weapons, with a view to preventing similar tragedies occurring in the future.

Speaking in an adjournment debate in the House of Commons on Monday, October 9, policing and fire service minister Nick Hurd confirmed he would be meeting Ben's family later this year to listen to their views.

He said during the debate: 'I have recently written to the coroner and confirmed my intention to review the regulation of air weapons in England and Wales.

Floral tributes at Thurston Community College after Ben Wragge's death. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Floral tributes at Thurston Community College after Ben Wragge's death. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY - Credit: Staff photographer

'I think that this is an appropriate time to take stock of the regulatory position and assess whether the current controls, which are already strong, continue to be appropriate and effective.

'I intend to look carefully at the existing controls on air weapons, including how best to ensure that these weapons are stored safely and securely.


You may also want to watch:


'I think that a review of air weapon regulation is important and timely, we will do so against a backdrop of existing controls that are, by all international comparisons, very robust.'

The debate was secured by Bristol South MP Karin Smyth after the serious injury in her constituency of 18-month-old Harry Studley in July last year, who was shot with an air rifle by a neighbour.

Suffolk coroner Peter Dean. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Suffolk coroner Peter Dean. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Most Read

The Home Office will determine the detail and scope of the review and has now published a revised edition of the Home Office guidance leaflet for air weapons users.

The leaflet will be available online and will also be distributed to readers of Airgun World and Airgunner. It advises on the laws and safety procedures to which all air weapon owners must adhere.

Policing and fire minister Nick Hurd. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Policing and fire minister Nick Hurd. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus