man who sold guns to Dunblane killer
Thomas Hamilton is a close
friend of Foreign Secretary
Malcolm Rifkind, the Evening
News can reveal today.
Gun shop owner Robert
Bell, who lives in Balerno, is chairman
of the Conservative party for Edinburgh
Pentlands constituency - the seat
held by Mr Rifkind.
Today Mr Rifkind
backed Mr Bell and said
he was a man he held in high regard.
have known Bob a long time and he is a very responsible
businessman and a man I have deep respect for,"
who is reported to have said he would sell the guns
again despite the murder of 16 children and their
teacher, will play a key role in Mr Rifkind's
campaign at the next General Election.
[Ed ~ A safe seat that Rifkind
would lose. You at least deserve plaudits for
denied the pair's friendship would affect his position
on gun laws. "The fact that I know
Bob is not going to affect my stance," he said.
Foreign Secretary, in the
Capital to celebrate the Conservatives' council by-election
win in Baberton refused to state his views on gun
law because of the public
inquiry launched by the Government.
MP for Edinburgh South, Nigel Griffiths, said: "This
endorsement of Mr Bell by
Mr Rifkind is really rather
premature. I think that Lord
Cullen should be investigating the role
of all those who were supplying guns and ammunition
to this monster. Clearly the issue of
the responsibility of people who sell guns has to
be examined thoroughly."
bought his arms and ammunition from Mr Bell
at his gun shop D Crockart & Son,
King Street, Stirling. He has been an
occasional customer for many years.
Mr Bell refused to comment
on his friendship with Mr Rifkind.
After the gym-hall Massacre,
he said Hamilton's purchases
from his shop were authorised under firearms regulations.
conduct on each occasion was correct in every respect,"
he said. Hamilton
had been at Mr Bell's shop
only a few weeks before he shot 28 calmly primary
one children and their teacher in Dunblane
Primary ten days ago.
would not say whether the three 9mm pistols and the
revolver found at the scene were bought from him.
But he confirmed his shop had the permit to sell handguns
and that Hamilton had the
Inquiry will start taking
evidence in June.
Cullen's report will cover
the events leading up to the tragedy,
the licensing of guns, school security and the working
of Hamilton's mind.
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