Friday, June 18, 2010

U.K. Grandmother Sentenced

The BBC reports on the bizarre story of a woman sentenced for possessing a gun in the home. Thanks FishyJay for the tip.

Gail Cochrane, 53, had kept the gun for 29 years following the death of her father, who had been in the Royal Navy.

Police found the weapon, a Browning self-loading pistol, during a search of her home in Dundee while looking for her son.

She admitted illegal possession of the firearm, an offence with a minimum five-year jail term under Scots law.

Cochrane told the High Court in Edinburgh that she had never contemplated she might be committing a crime by keeping the gun or that she might need to get a licence for the weapon.

She said: "I thought it was just a war trophy."

Defence solicitor advocate Jack Brown argued that the circumstances surrounding the case were exceptional and that it would be "draconian, unjust and disproportionate" to jail the grandmother-of-six.

The sentencing, or should I say, hanging judge said she wasn't satisfied with the defendant's explanation and issued the unbelievable sentence of five years in jail. Maybe the judge wasn't familiar with the case we talked about the other day.

Reading the story, I had a couple of questions, though. Isn't it a bit of a spin to call a gun like this a "family heirloom?" That makes it sound like an unworkable piece that belongs in a museum. Actually it was a "Czech-made pistol dating back to about 1927." Aren't some of our favorite guns from that date or even older?

The other thing I noticed is that she kept the gun under her mattress. Now, that sounds odd. Perhaps the judge thought so too. It's hard to believe that a 29-year-old family heirloom would be kept under the mattress all that time.

What's your opinion? Does this story represent everything we fear about UK-style gun laws? Or are there too many discrepancies to use this one as an example?

Please leave a comment.


  1. I say one more gun toting thug off the street. We are all safer as a result. Congrats to all involved.

  2. UK-style gun laws are everything we fear about UK-style gun laws.

  3. Gun Control - Making criminals out of law abiding people since... Well.. Forever.

  4. Using this grandmother story to make your point about "draconian" gun laws is like my taking the most extreme misuse of guns to demand gun control.

    I guess that makes us even, huh?