Home Secretary considering tougher crossbow laws after Bushey triple-killing, security minister tells LBC

11 July 2024, 08:41

Yvette Cooper is considering tightening up crossbow ownership laws, security minister Dan Jarvis said
Yvette Cooper is considering tightening up crossbow ownership laws, security minister Dan Jarvis said. Picture: Alamy/LBC

By Kit Heren

The Home Secretary is considering toughening up rules for crossbow owners after the triple killings in the north London suburbs this week, the security minister has said.

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Dan Jarvis told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast that there was "evidence that we will need to consider very carefully" before proposing any changes to the crossbow laws.

It is already illegal to carry a crossbow in public without a good reason, and it is also against the law for a child to own a crossbow, or to sell one to anyone under 18.

But crossbows are easily obtainable online for a few hundred pounds or less, and they are used for competitive target shooting.

Campaigners have been calling for the law to be tightened further after recent high profile incidents, including when a 21 year-old who scaled Windsor Castle with a crossbow on Christmas Day 2021 in an apparent attempt to kill the Queen.

Read more: ‘Screams and absolute chaos... and then armed police arrived’ how the hunt for crossbow murder suspect unfolded

Read more: Last 999 call of women victims of ‘crossbow killer' as they begged for help after being tied up and fatally wounded

Watch Again: Nick Ferrari is joined by Security Minister Dan Jarvis | 11/07/24

Wednesday's attack in Bushey, in which a mother and two daughters were killed, is likely to lead to further calls for law changes.

Mr Jarvis said that Labour's new Home Secretary Yvette Cooper "has already begun a process of looking very carefully at the detail of all of this."

The previous Conservative government launched a call for evidence earlier this year, which Mr Jarvis said he and his colleagues would "need to consider very carefully."

"The Home Secretary is already on that", he said. "She will look carefully at that evidence, she will look very carefully at what happened yesterday. And if she takes the view that there is a requirement to make changes to legislation, then she will not hesitate to act.

"We need to look at this in the round. We need to look at it very carefully indeed. But we will make a judgement as early as we're able as to whether the current legislative framework is appropriate.

"And if it's not, we will change it - because nothing is more important than ensuring the safety of the public."

Mel Thomas QPM on the Bushey crossbow killings

The review launched in February included suggestions that a licensing scheme could be brought in, similar to how gun ownership is regulated.

Even competitive crossbow target shooters are keen on bringing in new laws to improve public safety.

John Bingham, the president of the National Crossbow Federation, said he was "all for whatever controls are required to ensure these bows don’t get into the wrong hands."

A Home Office Spokesperson said on Wednesday:  "This is an appalling incident and the Home Secretary is being kept updated by the police. 

"We keep legislation under constant review and a call for evidence was launched earlier this year to look at whether further controls on crossbows should be introduced. 

"The Home Secretary will swiftly consider the findings to see if laws need to be tightened further."

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