Dunblane Massacre Resource Page

John Hurst on the Bill of Rights 1689

September 1997

The UK does recognize self defence as a good reason for issue of a Firearm Certificate or police permit. If you examine UK firearms legislation you will find that the Common Law right to arms of British subjects is provided for in all the principle Acts of Parliament from the 1819 Unlawful Drilling Act to the Firearms Act 1968.

The Bill of Rights 1689 remains a statute in force which obliges Crown servants to swear to uphold the Subjects rights. The parts of Magna Carta which remain valid do the same.

The meaning of these statutes can be determined by reference to the Interpretation Act 1978. It directs that the intention of Parliament when the Act was passed can only be determined from the ordinary meaning of the words used. In cases of doubt the intention of the Acts are determined from their long titles and from what the sponsors of the Act said in debate in Parliament.

It is the duty of the speaker of the House to ensure that MPs are warned not to breech the provisions of the Bill of Rights which protect the Subjects rights. If they did so they would break their Oaths of Office and commit the offence of Misconduct in Office. Acts are also draughted to avoid inconsistencies and the Interpretation Act contains rules to settle apparent conflicts which may arise. Recent research by the Bill of Rights Appreciation Society in the UK have used the above principles to challenge Home Office "policy" which is to restrict the issue of permits for defensive weapons by advising Chief Constables not to issue them.

I have seen references to the Bill of Rights on the Sporting Shooters of Australia web site. Apparently only Queensland acknowledges it. Does anyone know if someone has challenged them on this?

John Hurst <john.hurst@sky.com>

Posted: Tue Sep 30 1997