Despite this, the effectiveness of Britain's gun laws has been repeatedly questioned. The most high-profile mass shooting happened in 2010 when a lone gunman killed 12 people in a four-hour shooting spree in rural Cumbria, northern England. After a huge manhunt, the body of 52-year-old taxi driver Derrick Byrd was found alongside two powerful rifles, one equipped with a telescopic sight.
Criminologist Peter Squires said the real picture shows a slight but significant decline in the use of firearms since Dunblane. The figures don't tell the whole story, he said, but "the murder rate has fallen and all the indicators are moving in the right direction."
Squires, professor of criminology at Brighton University and a member of the Gun Control Network, said he believed the fall in crimes where guns were used was due to new legislation coupled with better policing against gangs.
"Any weapon can be misused in a crime. Gun control will never be a complete solution to events like the mass shooting we saw in Connecticut. The swamp of gun use has not been fully drained and while tighter gun control removes risk on an incremental basis, significant numbers of weapons remain in Britain."
He added it was important to note that a big problem remained in Britain and other countries with imitation guns, converted weapons such as starting pistols and air guns, "which many people regard as only one step up from a toy."