HC Deb 30 May 1870 vol 201 cc1680-3

Order for Second Reading read.


, in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, he had come to the conclusion not to press it in its original shape. In deference to what he understood to be the general wish of the House, he proposed to retain the game licences, but to give holders of them a licence to carry fire-arms. It would rest with the House to say whether the amount of the licence should be reduced.


said, he regretted the decision come to, because by it the Chancellor of the Exchequer withdrew the boon he had promised. It had been said that the original proposal of the right hon. Gentleman would relieve the rich; but his (Mr. Hunt's) object in wishing to see the licence reduced was to enable poorer persons to enjoy the pleasure of sport at a moderate cost. To prevent poaching, he would make a provision to withhold a licence from any person found trespassing in pursuit of game or committing any offence with fire-arms.


said, he differed entirely from the right hon. Gentleman who had just addressed the House, and must express his satisfaction at the concession made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. If only a £1 licence on guns were imposed there would be a vast increase in the number of poachers. It appeared from the Bill that nobody but an officer of the Inland Revenue or a constable would be entitled to ask for the production of a licence; and he wished, therefore, to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether an owner or occupier of land, or a keeper deputed to look over a property, would not also be authorized to demand the production of a licence from a person trespassing on the property? He also wished to know whether persons employed in scaring birds would be exempted from the operation of Clause 7?


said, he was very grateful indeed to the right hon. Gentleman for the concession he had granted. He should, however, prefer to see the licence applicable to the barrels or chambers rather than to the actual gun, in order to check the dangerous practice of carrying revolvers, which was growing very common in the North of England.


explained that the licence was not imposed on the guns themselves, but on the carrying of guns.


said, he should like to have the tax increased in proportion to the number of chambers each gun might contain.


said, he thought his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer would have done well to adhere to his original proposition; but he congratulated him on the support he was receiving from the game preservers. As this tax, he believed, amounted to £150,000, it was high time for another Financial Statement to be made.


said, that as the proposed alteration was en- tirely in accordance with the Amendment he had himself given Notice of, he begged to thank the right hon. Gentleman for the concession he had made. The retention of the game licence was, in his judgment, the greatest check on poaching which could be devised. He trusted, however, that the right hon. Gentleman would fix the cost of the gun licence at 10s.


said, he was also glad that the game licence was to be retained. It would, however, be a great boon to clerks and others who had an opportunity to go shooting for a week or two if licences available for a week, a fortnight, or a month could be obtained at the Post Offices for 5s. or 10s.


said, that gentlemen who only went shooting for two or three days in the year never thought of taking out a licence. He thanked the right hon. Gentleman for retaining the old game licence, as the Bill in its original form would have given the greatest encouragement to poaching. He concurred in the suggestion of the hon. Baronet (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson) that the tax should be imposed on the barrels, in order to check the use of revolvers.


said, he would point out that the Bill had entirely changed its appearance, and would consequently require careful revision in Committee. If the old game licence were to be retained, no tax ought to be imposed on guns; and when the Bill went into Committee he intended to propose a clause to that effect.


said, that he had had the honour of presenting a Petition signed by 36 working men, who stated they should experience great pleasure at being allowed a month's shooting in the spring free of gun tax.


said, he would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer to adhere to the £1 gun tax, which was necessary for the purpose of putting a stop to the shooting of small birds in the neighbourhood of towns.


said, he thought his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer had been a little precipitate in announcing his intention of maintaining the game licence in addition to the gun tax, as the Inland Revenue Department were intensely re- luctant to be made the means of prosecuting poachers in consequence of a tax being levied on guns.


said, he would make the common-sense suggestion that game preservers who sold their game should be made to take out the dealer's licence.


said, he wished to know whether it was meant to include, as subject to the tax on guns, the large number of guns in the armouries connected with the shipping of the country?


The tax is to be, not on guns, but on the carrying of them.


said, there was a large number of guns carried annually between the armourer's shop and the ships.

Bill read a second time, and committed, for Thursday 9th June.