A gun club's offer of free pistols to new members has triggered warnings about firearms control standards. A full-page advertisement for the China Gun Club, featuring a black pistol wrapped in red ribbon, appears in the latest Next Magazine. With the words 'you want me . . . join and get me', the recruitment drive encourages potential members to take advantage of the offer and sign up for life. 'To celebrate . . . the Year of the Goat we've especially arranged an offer you'll find hard to resist,' says the advert. 'Become a Black Card Member between now and April 30, and receive a Glock semi-automatic handgun, absolutely free,' it says. The Glock handgun is used by many specialist commando units and is increasingly being adopted as the weapon of choice by police around the world, including Hong Kong, where it has been chosen to replace the standard-issue Smith and Wesson revolver. Under the terms of the offer, prospective gun enthusiasts must be aged over 15, have a valid passport, proof of address, and no criminal record or history of mental illness. But the gun club promotion has come under fire with concerns it is lowering standards towards gun control in the community. 'It is not a moral issue but an issue for government,' said Choi Chi Sum, spokesman for the Society for Truth and Light, adding the proper regulation of gun ownership was essential to a safe community. Referring to the anti-gun lobby and the efforts of authorities to erase gun crime from the streets of the United States and Britain, he said it was clear that any loosening of gun control standards was 'very dangerous'. 'We have to be very careful about how we promote guns to society.' A front-counter worker at the China Gun Club yesterday said the recruitment drive had been a success, with a life membership costing $26,800 including a free Glock, normally worth $7,000. 'We've had many enquiries from people calling about the offer . . . it is quite attractive,' she said. She said the offer was conditional on approval of a personal gun licence. Legislator James To Kun-sun, Legco's security panel vice-chairman, yesterday said the free-gun offer sounded like a good advertising gimmick. 'If someone offers a pistol for free of course that is going to be conditional on them obtaining a licence. But why not, a weapon can be used as healthy exercise.' Hong Kong Practical Shooting Association chairman Benny Yam said restrictions and regulations on gun ownership in the SAR were exhaustive. 'If people want to own a handgun, they must be an approved gun club member, have taken a basic firearm training course, must join in competition shooting for a certain period of time, and undergo a written, oral and practical examination run by the police,' he said.