Children aged 10 and above must be allowed to apply for gun licenses, opines Britain's most senior firearms officer.
Assistant Chief Constable Adrian Whiting said the age limit should be brought down from 14 to 10 - the same age at which they can apply for a shotgun licence.
"Because children as young as 10 have been able to shoot perfectly safely with a shotgun certificate, there is no reason to interrupt that. The evidence in relation to young people shooting does not give any cause for concern," the Independent quoted him as saying.
Whiting later said that the current minimum age of 14 can be circumvented in some instances - such as for pest control - so some children younger than 10 can legally shoot rifles and pistols.
"I'm thoroughly disappointed with this senior police officer. I don't think a 10-year-old is responsible enough to have a firearm," responded Lucy Cope, the founder of Mothers Against Guns.
Assistant Chief Constable Sue Fish, the Acpo spokeswoman for gun crime, was questioned about the influence of violent computer games on violence among young people.
Fish said, "The two are not incompatible. My sense is that I find [such games] extremely distasteful, and I cannot help but feel that they cannot help the situation."