Tuesday 4 September 2007

Getting Rid of the Guns Begins at Home with Britain's Arms Industry.

In the light of the recent series of tragic gun deaths numerous media commentators and politicians of all political parties have expressed their anxieties about the ease of access to weapons in our society and condemned the fact that these weapons are now more available than ever. This month these concerned citizens have a real opportunity of making a direct contribution to the campaign which has effectively mobilised for decades against the root source of these weapons.

On Tuesday 11th September the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) is organising a peaceful demonstration against the DSEi arms fair being held at the ExCel exhibition centre in East London, assemble at 11am at Plaistow Park.

The DSEi arms fair is one of the largest arms fair in the world and is organised every two years in London with the full support of the Government. Arms dealers and buyers come from all over the world to shop for weapons, ranging from small arms to fighter jets, to battleships. These weapons will contribute to the armed violence which kills 500,000 people every year, one person every minute. It is estimated that at least 80-90% of all illegal small arms start in state sanctioned arms trade. As CAAT points out, it is an irony that this arms fair is being held in Newham where gun crime has become an increasing problem in recent years with many victims under 20.

CAAT has been an extremely successful campaign.This year its successes include persuading Reed Elsevier, the company organising arms fairs, to sell off its arms fair operation. In addition the campaign has played the key role in pushing the Government into announcing in July that its Defence Export Services Organisation is to shut by the end of the year. This is the body which on behalf of the Government promotes and supports arms sales by the arms industry in Britain.

So supporting CAAT is one of the most effective ways of tackling gun crime and preventing more people being brutally killed by guns and other weapons both in Britain and across the world.

I have always supported the work of CAAT and used its research but through lethargy never made the effort to actually join. So today I am sending off my cheque and application form to join to support its work. If all those media pundits and politicians who have recently pronounced on gun crime are serious about tackling this issue there can be no better way than supporting CAAT www.caat.org.uk and email to enquiries@caat.org.uk