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Last updated Tuesday 1 April 2003
Gangs and guns - who takes the rap?
Gun crime
Fashion accessory: gun crime in Manchester
Carrying a gun and being ina gang go hand-in-hand in Manchester.

Police in the North West are all taking part in the first national gun amnesty for seven years. But we ask: will it stop the shootings?
Have Your Say
Gun crime in Greater Manchester, (April 2001 to March 2002):
11 murders;
84 serious woundings;
639 incidents of violence involving guns;
785 incidents of armed robbery;
50 burglaries where guns were used.
see also
Video Nation: Gun Culture

BBC News:
Gun Amnesty begins
Gun law shake-up unveiled

BBC Manchester: Gangs and gun crime in Manchester
GMP: Gang violence being targetted by partners

GMP: Police Educate Young People On The Dangers Of Misusing Imitation Firearms And BB-Guns

Home Office: Shootings, Gangs and Violent Incidents in Manchester - developing a crime reduction strategy

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On April 1 police forces in Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Lancashire and Cheshire began a gun amnesty. People across the region are being urged to hand in their illegal firearms ahead of the introduction of new gun laws. From BBC News: Gun amnesty begins

Following the murders of two teenage girls in Birmingham, the Home Secretary David Blunkett has confirmed that a conviction for gun possession will now carry a mandatory jail sentence of five years. From BBC News: Gun law shake-up unveiled

For gang members in Manchester, guns have become the 'must-have' status symbol - even a fashion accessory. They're used in settling disputes between rival gangs, or turf wars between drug dealers. See also: Gangs and gun crime in Manchester

On the increase: guns seized in Manchester

But it's getting worse. Detectives say the gun-toting has led to "disrespect" shootings in which people have been shot for as little as spilling a drink or laughing at someone's haircut.

The lyrics of gangsta rappers like So Solid Crew have also been blamed for popularising gun culture.

In Manchester, police, the council and other agencies have been taking a joint approach aimed at redirecting young people away from the gangs and into a better lifestyle. More >>>

And firearms officers are also going into schools to educate young people about the dangers of misusing imitation firearms and ball-bearing guns.
More >>>

But still the figures on gun crime continue to rise.

So what's the answer? Will a gun amnesty really stop the shootings? Is it fair to blame gangsta rap? What about better education and opportunities for young black men - should society take the rap? How do you stop young people in gangs carrrying guns?

Have Your Say

From Ian in Manchester
The fear of being caught is not great enough in this country. Only when we make it harder for criminals to get away with crimes will we see a result.

From steve in manchester old trafford
ive lived in manchester all my life and have seen alot of development going on,with alot of new housing ect,but not alot is being done to get the young people of old trafford and moss side facilities to keep them more occupied with centres where they can go and do sport learn how to make music,things that interest the youth of today,if more projects like kickstart in old trafford where about maybe you would see a drop in this gun crime.kickstart is an inovated youth project designed to help young people,with sport and activities but still they need funding to have somewhere indoors they can go,kickstart is run from a car park .

From John in Sale Manchester
Having a gun amnesty is a great thing because it gets most guns off the streets but what about knifes and other wepons such as baseballbats are we goin to stop them to.? in my opinion Rap music is not intilly the blame for gang shootings look at Films the internet, TV Programes.

From Amanda in Salford, Manchester
Guns have always been a problem in manchester and youths that join gangs at a young age think that they wont become victims of gang violence. No matter if you join a gang or not you are always a victim.

From lucky in manchester
it is all fine saying get rid of guns..legalise drugs etc etc...... If the goverment wanted these things to stop they would but they dont. The world is the most corrupt place ever and it all starts from the top.. Drugs get into the country no matter what..and that is due to the goverment as is the same with guns... guns are constantly entering the country beacuse at the end of the day imports/exports are earning the goverment money. you could compare it to cancer ..thousands die from this every year yet there is no cure why..because drug companies and the goverment make too much money from the medicene. Every person who comes up with an idea will not be able to comission it because the cure simple is not wanted..gun crime will always be here unless there is a radical change...

From gareth in moss side.manchester,britain
On one hand most of the youths start off by meaningless roberies, thay are bored and that is the only way thay think that thay can get a reputation on the streets.But on the other hand they can look at others, see the example on what has been made and think what they want for there children, brothers or sisters. It's a shame when you see good talent go waste,


From lisa hamilton in gorton manchester england
my view about gun crime is that if the police was to carry guns at all times and able to use them i think this would really cut down crime and the members of the public was obviously be more aware and i think teenagers would think twice about getting involved more with gangs.

From Jason in Manchester
Lyrics from bands such as So Solid Crew have NOTHING to do with gun crime (culture whatever you want to call it). Just remember that Gun crime in manchester was around long before So Solid came into the limelight. That is media speculation and media hype. Just like media hype about how bad Manchester (Moss Side and Hulme) were no-go areas - again, all rubbish. I'm a manchester man born and bred and am quite sick and tired of hearing about Manchester this and Manchester that, when there's shootings all over England. And believe me, arming ALL police is NOT a good idea either. Some of Manchester's finest believe they are a law unto themselves and give them a gun and they'd be just as bad, if not worse, than these criminals handling guns in the first place. The idea of legalising drugs has been around for a long time now but keeps getting sidetracked or purposely ignored. That is a possible way forward. Drugs is one of the main sources of income for gangs ANYWHERE not just in Manchester. If drugs became legalised, what would gangs do then? If the government really wanted to tackle this issue, then legalising drugs is one avenue the cannot ignore.

From S.Kacer in Wigan
Any one possesing a gun wether it be a replica or real should should get a mandatory sentence of 4 years. Air guns should have to be licensed,no licence incurring a fine

From Redman in LONDON
1 gunshot=1 possible death,10 gunshots=10 possible deaths, can you see the trend. FACT : Guns mean gunfire which means deaths. The answer - no guns. Read it and weap all those from the US who claim to have a civilised society. I dont think so !! P.S. Could the last one standing with a weapon..please turn the lights off

From Rich Campbellin Manchester
Arm all of the police. Legalise drugs enabling those policemen to divert their attention towards the gangs. By legalising drugs the government can doctor them to make them safer, tax them to make funds available, but more importantly they will be getting the drugs money instead of the gangs, starving them of clients and money.

From James, a free man in USA
If you believe that guns don't protect the innocent, post a sign outside your house that reads, "No guns here." and see what happens. Unfortunately, the world will always have criminals. Turning yourself into a sheep won't get rid of the wolves. History has taught us that disarming the people is the first step to atrocity from the government. Why do they want you to be unarmed? Hmmm.

From Geoff in Wilmslow
Is Dion Gibbs arguing that we should accept a world in which we must all carry guns in order to protect ourselves by shooting back! That is madness! Yes, gun control must be strengthened. BBC File on 4 reported over a year ago on a key issue here - gun availability. Replica guns have been readily available over the counter, that can very easily be converted to live weapons that kill. Making guns harder to get hold of seems a very effective and important place to start with gun control. Prevention is far better than cure. What did the government do about this issue during that year? Nothing that I know of! I wrote to my MP about it, and didn't even get a reply. It is deeply disturbing that this issue of making guns harder to get hold of has been apparently ignored by the government until now. If action had been taken sooner, who can say how many lives might have been saved? I am certainly not a Tory, but I am increasingly disillusioned by how out of touch and this giovernment seems to be becoming, and I think this is a striking example.

From Vicky in Stockport
Jonathan in Manchester - I wholly agree. Prison is not tough enough. For many - it is easier than working an honest days work just to put food on the table & pay the bills. Hard labour & more prisons is the answer by ensuring there is enough room in the prisons for everyone convicted to serve their full sentence. If prison wasn't such an easy option - it'd put more people off I'm sure - but the attitude is they'll either get off with community service or only serve half of what they were sentanced to. Hardly a deterrent in anyones book.

From Dion Gibbs in Brighton
No it wont stop the shootings, it will just give the gangsta an easy target at us who are un armed. So I say prohibition is wrong and Guns should be avaliable for any law abiding citizen.

From Jonathan in Manchester
Yet again another Labour MP responds Prematurely to what was clearly a tragedy in Birmingham, “bring in a new law, show the public were doing something, win us some votes”. What the public don’t understand, is that if you asked any Judge I’m sure they’d tell you that their sentencing powers are already entirely sufficient in respect of firearms offences. What would appear to be one of the problems is the fact that having sentenced defendants, the parole board (headed by another Labour MP) chooses to release them early as part of their “rehabilitation”. Bringing in new laws to sentence them for longer periods seems to me like a complete contradiction in terms particularly when you see what comforts they are afforded in prison. What the public also fail to understand is that early release was brought in as a result of serious overcrowding in prisons and, although it eased the pressure slightly, most prisons are curr! ently full throughout the UK. What I think is needed is a few more prisons, and more specialised prison system. The purpose of “Imprisonment” is as a deterrent and also as a punishment. Therefore, isn’t it plainly stupid to release people early because they have good parole reports? What we should be doing is giving them hard labour if they misbehave, not taking their television and Playstation off them. But alas more prisons and an overhaul of the penal system costs money, and of course spending money won’t “win us some votes”. But then again who am I to speak I’m only a Criminal Lawyer, not a Member of Parliament.

From Anon
America has improved and is steadilly resolving the problem. Use their example. We tend to follow the USA in most things and crime paterns predominate.

From Mark Byrne in Stalybridge, Manchester. Long term prison sentences, in my opinion do nothing to disuade these offenders. I truly believe that a large majority of these offenders are beyond "repair". If a dog misbehaves very badly it is more often than not destroyed, taking away the danger to the public. The same philosophy should be applied to violent criminals to remove the danger from the public who in the main are law abiding people. A long term sentence just adds to a reputation; something that most criminals thrive on!!!
From andy in Manchester
Youth equals energy - find the best way to chanel that energy then you have harnesed the perpetual nature of mankind; the need to ascert oneself, to express ones identity, to be able to articulate the emotions and yearnings of an individual - yet to find the find the common ground and eek out the common deonominator, to find a collective. To reach for a common goal - these things are lacking in a modern society and are too readily avalilable to pre-adolesent gang culture. With larger than life "role models" rappin about thug life, lookin beautiful and surroundin themseves with beauty, it is only honest to say that this kind of life is attractive. When seeking a parliamentary spell - and lets face it - thats all you can hope for livin the highlife, a three/six year term, thinkin you're above popular opinion, in fact thinkin that you form public opinion! Its a one-way ticket down a one-way treet. Public funds (lottery etc) need to be directed to the ventu! res that will yeald the most lucrative impact both immediate and for long term long term sustained growth. This would in term develop on the following; 1) Music 2) Sport and 3) The Arts. [A multi-ethnic blend of eutopian bliss, cross fertilisisation of the last fifty years of multi afro/craibean/empire/fusion of talent...we are truly blessed! Big up Manchester!

From Ian in Leeds
Eliza - you may only be 15 but get over yourself. The truth is that some "living legends" are shooting real living legends and they dont descriminate between good or bad, it's just who's in the way.The truth is that some people are criminals and some people are too stupid to tell the difference between a song that makes millions for the artist and how a responsible citizen should behave in the community

From Eliza Asemah in Kennington, London
Why are artists (BLACK) being targeted? So Solid, Elephant Man, P.Diddy, Nas, Jay Z. are all in the spot light and being put down because of the lyrics they use in their songs. 2pac an Notorious B.I.G are renowned for their true life words, and the fact of the matter is 'it's a thug life, you just gotta thug wit it' this is a white mans world and he can't handle the fact that we black people are not something he stood in we are living legends, not for conquering worlds but for experiencing the pain that the whit man did not have to go through, for bearing the scars for our countries and for being black. God did not make us even he made white people to rule over black people like animals and the only way we can fight back is through songs and words. It has being going on for centuries and will continue, so I beg of the press don't knock what we got cause its better than yours. p.s I'm only 15 but I could teach you a whole a lot about the black community, one bad black does not mean we all are.


From ella, Manchester
I have often thought that if we leave them with guns for long enough, they would all shoot themselves and that would be it, however, the simplist way is to prevent the manufactor and importation of Guns, which admitidly would not have imediate effect. The last guns amensty had the effect of 1000's of gun beening handed in, maybe its time for another one, before dumblane and the Birmingham girls is an everyday experience.

From lynn hayes, manchester
stiffer sentences life to mean life stop making it so easy for people to appeal against sentences first time offenders caught with guns to recieve 5yr terms should serve 5 years not released for good behavior.

From Shazia, Birmingham
Capital punishment is not the right answer to murderers. Capital punishment will not deter and is therfor unefficient. There should be more harder laws to try to prevent murderers and gun crimes.

From richard s wassner, pensacola beaach, florida, US or is that the gun blazing US
Since your government doesn't allow law abiding citizens and police to carry guns to defend themselves, and it seems clear that protecting your home from invaders is distasteful if not illegal.Perhaps you might benefit from a grand concert with all the ganster rap stars in attendance. Then send out free tickets to your violent criminals and tell everyone else the tickets are sold out.After that is accomplished,simply call in the R.A.F. to drop a few lazer guided munitions and your problems will cease to exist.Our countries drop bombs on our enemies abroad.Why can't drop them on those within? I know, democracy does have its downside. Sorry , I know it isn't a nice thing to say, but I am in awe at how you are forced to live your lives. All apoligies Scott

From bryan wyatt, Denton Tameside
We feel that any one who commit any kind of crime should not be blamed or punished in any way. This is the only way that the responsablelity for the crime will be put at the door of the poeple who realy are to blame, and that is the cowards who sit in parliment, who keep drawing their obsence pay and expenses, but have not got the guts to pass sentences that will protect the law-abiding poeple, i.e. Corpril and capital punishment. The MPs should be paid by results, then we could all watch them starve to death.

From Andrew king, Manchester
most guns should not be made and any gun what is found should be disposed of fast.

From Vicky in Stockport
If you carry a gun - you should be punished - simple as that. The problem with this country is that they have been too lenient for too long & now they are experiencing problems. Blaming gangsta rap is stupid & an excuse. The fact of the matter is that there have always been guns & there was never any deterrent about having one. Now the problem is getting out of control, they come up with the 5 year sentance. If you carry a gun & you use it on innocent people you deserve to be shot by armed police. If gangs use them between themselves - lets hope they kill each other off & save the tax payer a ton of money. The police need to get tough & be matched gun-wise because without guns they don't stand a chance. If a person carrying a gun is shot by a police officer - tough - its what they deserve, they know the risks. If your old enough & "cool" enought to carry a gun, you're old enough to take the punishment - even if that means death.

From Howard Jones in Manchester
We need to have an effective detterent. Where a a person is convicted of murder on the basis of evidence back by use of DNA, there can be no question of guilt. Therefore i these cases capitol punishment should be considered an option. For crimes where a person dies as a direct result of that unlawful act, a sentence of 25 years with no paroll should be mandatory. We could look at replacing the crime of "Manslaughter" with that of "Murder 2nd degree" to apply this sentence.

From Angela (13) in Droysden
i think the police should lay off the youger gangs between age 10-15 coz all they want is a chase off the police and when they see that they are not getting one they will stop. th police should intorduce more youth clubs and get the advertised on the tv so children will go !!

From Caroline Ferreira in Manchester
'GANGS OF NEW YORK' In light of gun statistics, the (debatable?) impression that rap music influences, and the inner city gang warfare such as that exposed in Birmingham, how come NOBODY has raised any objections/questions about the 'suitability' of this movie, or the possibility of increased violence the glorification this gangland epic might create? Because it is financed by big business and stars De Caprio, does that make it OK??

From Peter in Manchester
Unfortunately, and at the risk of being called uncaring and untrendy, my concerns are not for the perpetrators at all. My only sympathies are for the victims of these thugs. I don't care what kind of upbringing they had, if someone is spotted carrying a firearm in public, obviously engaged in an act of terror, then they should if at all possible, be shot on the spot. Never mind their welfare, what about that of innocent victims? Questions can always be answered later about how they lost their life or health. If it is a matter of either them getting injured or killed, or an ordinary person, then the worthless thug should get it every time, in my book.

From Gizmo in Miami
the only way is conscription into the army from the age of 16 to 18,combinig discipline with education.i am from longsight and lived there all my life.the shootings being reported is just the tip of the iceberg.DRUGS changed everything for us,in the 80's being a teenager i was into the footy and a bit of argybargy but the morality changed incredibly with smackheads spewing their poisonous bile into our community.we were rough but we would'nt blag old dears purses or rob our own gaffs.the truth is we probably would have been putting bullets in oneanother if the gang scene was about in the 80's as much as it is now.manchester is a bleak place to live when your chances are thin in the terms of earning enough money to live on at an early age.most kids in longsight cannot subsidise off their parents so must make money somehow.the thatcher government has a lot to answer for with it's uncaring attitude for the unemployed and schooleavers who were exploited on the y.t.s shennanigans.but we must no longer question who is to blame and get all deep about the situation.the answer is black and white-get them away from the craphole that they live in and show them another life exists.draft them into the army(-i'm not talking about sending them to war this should be for volunteers only in this present climate)and send them to africa to help the poor or send them on training courses where they will respect other people and learn what it is to be british instead of this psuedo jamaican yardie badbwoy attitude and plastic whiteboy gangsta idiots walking the streets.

From Mr Michael Wan in Greater Manchester
Guns they are like a craze where gangs who have to show who they are and how they deal or resolve problems, thats what its all about "status".Really what it does boil down to is more education in schools provided by the police and teachers/parents. providing information as to show how dangerous weapons,crime,gangs can serioulsy be.We could start with community meetings at any town halls or community centres to allow the community to voice there opions as to what they would like to say. these meetings could be every qauter. Its not to say we blame the police or parents etc but we do as a upstanding citizen need to play our role for the people and the community as well as making society a better place to live in. Criminals who are caught in pocession of firearms should be hit with a stiffer sentence, what is 5 years when you only do maybe 3/4 of your time. Criminals see that as nothing its not really as they go back on the streets and think they have done ! there time and thats the end of that, should they get into trouble again then its nothing as they have done time before and so they can handle it. We need to reach out to people and say is this what we want in society!!!...can we stop this from happening again!!!...etc its not an uprising for people to go wild but to assist the police. Are the police doing enough !!!...well yes they do and cannot be blamed for the crimes which occur but they do need to be more loyal and committed in terms of any project provided to the community.Providing a service means the service is there always and should always be maintained at the highest possible level. Police are deploying officers with guns on patrol who responed to any serious crime. Meeting criminals with the hard approach is the right repsonse.

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