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Posted: 3/13/2006 6:42:12 AM EDT
BBC NEWS
Gun tragedy remembered in private
The 10th anniversary of the massacre of 16 children and their teacher at Dunblane Primary School has been marked by quiet private reflection.

No official ceremony will take place in the Perthshire town.

Gun control campaigners used the day to voice concern over delays in setting up a national firearms register.

Home Office minister Hazel Blears said she was "absolutely committed" to the register and hoped that a trial of the new system would begin in May.

Gunman Thomas Hamilton killed himself after shooting his victims in Dunblane Primary School's gymnasium.

A spokesman for the families said they would light candles on Monday, as they had done every year since the tragedy.


HAVE YOUR SAY
This year is no different to last year or the one before that
Ann Dickson
Local councillor

He said: "We will recall with great affection how so many people in Dunblane and beyond also lit candles on the first anniversary to show that our children and their teacher were not forgotten.

"We hope they will be remembered on this 10th anniversary."

The Reverend Colin McIntosh, the local minister, said: "The community as a whole has decided that they would like to make it a quiet, peaceful time and I would like to respect that."

Local councillor Ann Dickson said: "Everyone just wants to get on with it now.

"This year is no different to last year or the one before that. There's not a soul in Dunblane that feels any different."

'Strength and dignity'

The Scottish cabinet arranged for 17 white roses to be laid at the garden which was created to remember the victims.

First Minister Jack McConnell has also written to four schools in Dunblane paying tribute to the "strength and dignity" of all those affected.

The letter, on behalf of the Scottish ministers, has been sent to Dunblane Primary, Newton Primary, St Mary's Episcopal Primary and the town's high school.

After the 1996 shooting a petition demanding curbs on the ownership of handguns gathered almost 750,000 signatures.

New laws banning the private holding of handguns were introduced by the government the following year, despite opposition from the gun lobby.

However, campaigners said that not enough has been done.

A UK-wide firearms register has not yet been compiled because of computer software problems.

Scottish police forces can now check details of gun owners and whether they have had licences revoked - but only within Scotland.

Mick North, whose daughter Sophie was one of the Dunblane victims, has campaigned for a national gun register.

He said the pro-gun lobby claimed it was their right to carry on a sport responsibly, but the right to bring up his daughter had been taken away from him.

Labour peer Lord Corbett, who has raised the issue in the Lords, said the delay was a disgrace.

Violent crime

Ms Blears said there was no lack of political will from the government and she was "disappointed" that the firearms register was not yet in place.

She said: "There have been issues with trying to get it in the programme of various IT developments.

"We do now have a system which is going to be trialled in May this year. If that is successful then I expect it to be national within nine months."

"There have been a series of different IT developments that have needed to take place, for example linking the police national computer to the violent crime register and the DNA register, but I am determined that this will happen."

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/scotland/4798690.stm

Published: 2006/03/13 14:40:22 GMT

© BBC MMVI
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