THE battle against the menace of fake guns has been taken up by the area's MPS.
David Hinchliffe, Barry Sheerman and Kali Mountford have promised to seek talks at the highest level.
The move comes after we revealed on the front page of yesterday's Examiner how we bought a replica Uzi machine gun in Huddersfield town centre for £80 to show how easy it is.
The MPs want more action from Home Secretary David Blunkett, following concerns raised by Chief Supt John Holt, the head of Huddersfield police.
He is worried that more and more replica guns are being used in crimes in the town.
Mr Hinchliffe, Labour MP for Wakefield, promised to contact Mr Blunkett and said: "I would completely support what Chief Supt Holt has said.
"There is new legislation going through Parliament regarding firearms. But I would be happy to write to the Home Secretary for new legislation to address the gap in the law over imitation guns.
"I obviously share the police concerns about their use."
A report to the West Yorkshire Police Authority showed that Huddersfield had the worst record of firearms violence against the person in the district.
But most of these offences involved guns that looked authentic, but were in fact replicas of real weapons.
Colne Valley Labour MP Ms Mountford has pledged to meet Mr Blunkett in a bid to help stop the menace.
She said: "In principle John Holt is absolutely right. I can see absolutely no legitimate purpose for them at all."
But she added: "We have to be careful we do not do something that would drive people to use real guns instead."
Ms Mountford said that if the sale of replica guns were banned, possession would have to be an offence, as well the sale and importing.
She added: "I do not think this is something that David Blunkett would shy away from."
Ms Mountford confessed to owning a replica gun herself.
"My son brought it back from Benidorm after he had been on holiday with a friend and his family when he was about 10 years old," she admitted. "I was horrified to find it while I was unpacking his suitcase."
Huddersfield Labour MP Barry Sheerman, a former Shadow Home Office minister, also backed the call.
He said: "We have to make it more difficult for people to get hold of them.
"And we ought to lock up a person for a very long time if they take out of their house a replica gun in pursuit of crime."
Mr Sheerman added that the Continent was "awash with these things".
He said: "I would love to be able to ban these things. I recognise the police's difficulties.
"We know how difficult it is to stop real firearms coming into the country, let alone replica."
Chief Supt Holt said: "There should be a ban on all imitation firearms. I can see no useful purpose for them.
"Since the Dunblane massacre there was going to be complete zero tolerance to firearms.
"Instead, offences have gone up year on year. But the vast majority are around imitations."
Chief Supt Holt said there had been cases - one in Huddersfield - where children had walked into schools waving replica weapons.
"It has caused some really serious concern for ourselves," he said. "These situations are not infrequent. When we get called out to what are firearms instances you cannot take a chance.
"They have to be professionally risk-assessed and handled by people who deal with firearms. That means using armed officers."
YOUR VIEWS ON THE REPLICA WEAPON DEBATE
Mrs Mavis Beaumont, Dalton: I THINK replica guns should be banned. They should never have been allowed in the first place. People have been shot dead by police because they have threatened people with a fake gun.
Mrs Dorothy Leatham, Huddersfield: I JUST could not tell the difference between the real and the replica guns on the front page of the Examiner last night. The law needs toughening up, with far stricter sentences for people caught with replica weapons.
Mick Madden, New Mill: FAKE guns should have been banned years ago. I cannot see why anyone would want to buy a fake gun. If one of those is pointed at a policeman and he shoots someone dead, the owner's family would be the first to complain. They have only a split second to decide: is it real or fake? They are a menace.
Sheila Lofthouse, Salendine Nook: SHOULD replica guns be banned? One word - Yes.
ANON: The problem with banning something is that the thing may be gone but those that caused the reason for the ban remain. You need to stop the person.
ANON: I can tell the difference between the Uzis. You could attack some with a knife, hit someone with a car, even stab someone with a pen. It isn't what is used.
ANON: All guns, replica or otherwise, should be made illegal.
ANON: More people are killed and intimidated in road rage incidents than by guns, imitation or otherwise. The gun problem is serious, of course.
ANON: If someone gets shot while waving a replica gun around they should be aware of the consequenses. The guns shoud definately be outlawed.
ANON: Guns should be outlawed totally. So many innocent lives would be saved.
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