Ringo Starr called for harsher sentences for those caught carrying guns on the anniversary of John Lennon’s death today.
The former Beatle asked for “peace and love” at a Non Violence Foundation event, where he unveiled a psychedelic “knotted gun” statue, which he had designed on his iPad.
He said: “I think it should be that if you’re caught with a gun or before you use it that it should be a higher sentence than what they get now.
“I can’t stand up and dictate to the world it’s over; no more guns. I can just do what I do, and there’s another side to the story which is peace and love.”
The drummer also spoke of his shock at hearing of Lennon's death, which happened 31 years ago today. Lennon was shot outside his New York apartment block by Mark David Chapman.
Ringo said: “My stepchildren called saying ’Something’s happened to John’. And you don’t think ’He’s been killed’, so you say ’Well, what’s happened?’
“Anyway, in the end they called me back. They called and said ’John’s been killed. He’s been shot and he’s dead.’
“You don’t know what to do. Your emotions are so whacked out. You don’t believe it really, but you know it’s happening. It’s just such a mad moment.”
Ringo said he went to New York to see if he could be of assistance following his friend’s death.
He added: “Yoko was there, of course, and she just asked us to look after Sean, who was a baby, and that’s all we did for a couple of hours.
“In the end it was so crazy that we got on another plane that night and went to LA.”
Gesturing to the statue, he said: “It was a bad day. But it was a bad day because someone took one of these and shot John.”
Ringo spoke about how gang culture has changed since he was a teenager.
He said: “I come from Liverpool. It was a gang mentality. Especially in Dingle, where I lived.
“We were all in gangs but we didn’t have guns. There were a few knives, a few hammers, but there was no guns around.
“Guns are just becoming more and more. That’s the problem. They’re like the death of choice. So we hope that young people will stop.”
He also spoke about the summer riots.
He said: “It wasn’t a lot of gun violence. It was just riots. People were annoyed. That’s how that is. We can get over that.”