In April 2021, an inquest took place into the tragic death of 30-year-old Shane Gilmer, after he was killed by a crossbow.

Ison Harrison represented Shane’s partner, Laura Sugden, and together we launched a campaign to change the law governing crossbows. 

Here we share an update on the campaign progress.

On 20 May 2021 the Government responded to our petition stating that they had no intention to legislate on this matter as they believed that the incidents where crossbows have been misused are very rare. Laura’s MP, Graham Stuart requested further information about how the Home Office has come to the conclusion that these incidents are rare, he also made a FOI to Humberside Police requesting any data they held on incidents involving Crossbows.

Graham Stuart MP received a response at the end of June stating that the department did not collect specific information and statistics on offences involving crossbows, but that they monitor the media and consult the police regarding emerging threats.

This response alongside the response of Humberside Police regarding the data they held was provided to Laura by her MP at the end of July. It was concerning that in that police force alone 32 incidents were recorded where a crossbow had been involved in the period between 2017-2020 and it has made us wonder just how many incidents involving crossbows may actually be recorded within the various forces in the United Kingdom.

The next stage of our campaign is to send requests for data held under the Freedom of Information Act to all 49 forces regarding crossbows featuring in any incidents/crimes recorded by them over the last 3-4 years. We will then collate this data to establish whether the Home Office is right that the use of crossbows is in fact very rare or whether this is an issue that needs to be addressed by the Government.

In the meantime if we can reach 100,000 signatures on the Parliamentary Petition it will allow for this campaign to be debated in Parliament whilst we are gathering further data behind the scenes. The deadline for the petition to reach 100,000 is 26 October 2021.

View our campaign document here.

If you are moved by this Laura’s story and would like to help us achieve 100,000 signatures, please sign the petition, share on social media using hashtag #Shaneslaw and share the link to the petition Stricter laws governing the purchase/acquisition/possession of crossbows – Petitions (

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