Dunblane School Massacre – 20 Years On

On Wednesday 13th March, 1996 a gunman named Thomas Hamilton opened fire and killed seventeen people including sixteen 5 year old pupils and a 45 year old teacher in a gym class at Dunblane Primary School in Scotland. This massacre has gone down in history as one of the deadliest mass murders in the UK.

The perpetrator, Hamilton, arrived at Dunblane School at approximately 9.30am in a white van. He walked into the school through a door on the north-west side of the school. Hamilton was armed with four handguns and he apparently fired two shots into the girl’s toilet and stage. Hamilton entered the gymnasium and open fire on the innocent teachers and class, shooting randomly and aimlessly. In the process he killed sixteen pupils and a teacher, Gwen Mayor. Soon after, he re-entered the gym with a different revolver and put the barrel in his mouth, pointing upwards, and shot…

A group called the Gun Control Network was founded soon after the massacre and was supported by many parents of the victims and teachers of Dunblane. Also, a campaign to ban private gun ownership called the Snowdrop Petition was created. The Sunday Mail also created a petition along the same ideas. The two petitions combined got over 1,100,000 signatures within several weeks of the massacre. The government recognized the public debate and then decided to introduce the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 which banned ‘all cartridge ammunition handguns.’ * Furthermore, the security of schools dramatically improved with many schools introduced high perimeter fences and door entry systems.

Tennis star, Andy Murray attended Dunblane Primary School and was present during the massacre. He says he was too young to understand what was going on at the time. Rather eerily, Murray attended a youth club run by the perpetrator Hamilton and Murray’s mother gave Hamilton lifts.