Daily Mail April 25, 1997
Section: Pg. 37
AS SNOWDROP FADES, ITS OFF-SHOOT GROWS TO THE GUN LAW TASK; THE DEBATE WILL MOVE ON. NOW WE'LL GET ON WITH OUR LIVES AGAIN
On Mothers Day, four days after the Dunblane massacre, a group of parents with young families launched a campaign calling for the private ownership of handguns in the United Kingdom to be made illegal.
The petition was named Snowdrop, after the only flower in bloom on the day of the tragedy.
Yesterday, the group that stirred the conscience of the nation handed the torch over to a new organisation. Snowdrop will officially end its existence on election day and be replaced by the Gun Control Network.
With Snowdrop described by co-ordinator Ann Pearston as one of the most successful single-issue campaigns ever seen in the UK, signalling its own demise as a pressure group, the GCN has emerged as the leading anti-gun organisation.
Mrs Pearston said:
"The debate on gun control is not over."
"Now is the appropriate time for the more formal organisation of GCN to be the single strong voice taking the debate forward, but I hope the electorate remember the victims of violence when they vote. We are going back to our families and domestic lives now."
The GCN, backed by Snowdrop, left a message hotly disputed by the Government yesterday - that voters should not support the Conservatives at the General Election because Tory candidates had failed to back moves to ban firearms.
Just 29 per cent of Tory candidates favoured a total ban on handguns, compared with 97 per cent of would-be Labour MPs, and 86 per cent of Liberal Democrats, according to a GCN survey. Only 6 per cent of Conservatives responded to the GCN, compared to 30 per cent of other candidates from the main parties.
Dr Mick North, whose five-year-old daughter Sophie died at Dunblane, spoke of his disappointment that the Prime Minister and Michael Forsyth, Scottish Secretary and MP for Dunblane at the time of the tragedy, had not replied to the survey.
"The legislation they brought in fell short of making handguns illegal. Those who lost their lives because of guns will never have a say on whether we should have a single currency or a grammar school in every town."
"You probably won't be voting Tory if gun control matters to you."
He praised the Snowdrop campaign, saying:
"Because of them, the events that happened at my daughter's school gave a focus for peoples' disgust at guns. It has been the most tremendous success."
Graphic: ANN PEARSTON: HOPES VOTERS REMEMBER THE VICTIMS
Gun Control Network website: http://www.gun-control-network.org