§ This Act shall apply to Ireland, subject to the following modifications:—
- (1) A reference to the Chief Secretary shall be substituted for any reference to a Secretary of State:
- (2) The expressions "police district" and "chief officer of police" respectively mean in the police district of Dublin metropolis that district and any of the Commissioners of the Police for that district, and elsewhere any district for which a county inspector of the Royal Irish Constabulary is appointed and such county inspector:
- (3) For the purposes of this Act a court of summary jurisdiction shall, except
80 in the police district of Dublin metropolis, be constituted of a resident magistrate sitting alone or with one or more other resident magistrates, and the decision of a court of summary jurisdiction on a prosecution for an offence under this Act shall be final:
- (4) "One year" shall be substituted for "three years" as the maximum period during which a firearm certificate may continue in force or for which a firearm certificate may be renewed:
- (5) In the provisions as to penalties "two years" shall he substituted for "three months" as the maximum term of imprisonment:
- (6) In the provisions restricting the purchase, possession, and use of firearms by persons under fourteen, "sixteen years" shall be substituted for "fourteen years":
- (7) A reference to the enactments relative to pawnbrokers in Ireland shall be substituted for the reference to the Pawnbrokers Act, 1872:
- (8) Section eighteen of the Criminal Justive Administration Act, 1914, so far as it limits the aggregate term of imprisonment where two or more sentences of imprisonment passed by a court of summary jurisdiction are ordered to run consecutively, shall not apply in any case where any of the sentences is passed for an offence under this Act:
- (9) Provisions as to appeals shall not apply:
- (10) Any constable authorised in writing in that behalf by the chief officer of police shall have the same powers as if the authority were a search warrant issued by a justice of the peace under this Act:
- (11) In addition to any other powers conferred on him under this Act, or otherwise, any constable may arrest without warrant any person whom he believes to be in possession of, or to be using or carrying, a firearm or ammunition in contravention of any of the provisions of this Act, and may search any such person, and whether arresting him or not may seize and detain any firearm or ammunition in his possession or used or carried by him:
- (12) For the purposes of the Explosives Substances Act, 1883, any firearm within the meaning of this Act shall be deemed to be an explosive substance.
§ Mr. HOGGE
I desire to move to leave out the Clause which says "This Act shall apply to Ireland." For one or two specific reasons. I think possibly the Government might agree to leave it out in this case. In the first place, I think it is always wrong to make a differential law between different parts of the United 81 Kingdom, and if this Bill becomes an Act, then we shall have running in the United Kingdom a different code of laws with regard to the purchase and carrying of firearms than we have in Ireland. I would like to draw the attention of the House to some of those differentiations, and to ask why such differentiations are made. For instance, a certificate for carrying firearms in this country may continue in force for a period of three years, whereas in Ireland the period is limited to one year. With regard to the question of imprisonment, the maximum penalty in this country is three months, and in Ireland it is two years. There is another distinction, which is not quite so glaring, namely, that the limit of age in this country is 14 years, and in Ireland 16 years.
Either this Bill means what it says on the face of it, or it does not. If it is a Bill dealing with the carrying and use of firearms generally, then it ought to be applicable alike all over the country. There ought to be no specific reason why in Ireland you require to be 16 before you get a certificate rather than 14 in this country, and surely there is no reason why in Ireland, if you are using a firearm in the wrong sense as intended by this Bill, you should be liable to two years' imprisonment, as against three months' in this country.
The only reason that one can give for this differentiation is the disturbed state of Ireland at the present moment. That is a fact which the Government have a perfect right to take into consideration, but I want to submit that, as a matter of fact, the Government have now got another Bill, which I presume will become law at the same time as this Bill may become law if it is not amended, namely, the Restoration of Order (Ireland) Bill. Under the Restoration of Order (Ireland) Bill the Government have taken what are described by themselves as carte blanche powers to deal with disturbances in Ireland. Therefore, any power which the Government may desire for the purposes of dealing with the disturbed state of Ireland are already conferred by them by the Restoration of Order (Ireland) Bill. I submit that that is a point which it is worth the Government's while to take into consideration. It is always a bad thing to have differential legislation, and if the powers they 82 want to deal with firearms are covered by the Restoration of Order (Ireland) Bill, then it is a pity to put through the House of Commons and the House of Lords a general Bill dealing with the question of firearms in which there is a special reference to what we hope may be temporary circumstances in Ireland.
Presumably this Bill was brought in by the Government as a result of the incidents which occurred about six or nine months ago, when banks and post offices were held up in this country by people with revolvers who were carrying them without licence. That is what the Bill was aimed at. Incidentally, in passing the Bill, the Irish situation being what it is, this Clause 18 was inserted. I venture to suggest that, as my right hon. Friend has now got the other powers, he does not require these powers. He has powers to deal with the abnormal situation in Ireland. This presumably would be the normal Bill that would remain on the Statute Book for dealing with the use of this kind of firearm when the Irish situation was cleared away. Because I think it is always a mistake to have this differential legislation when the Government have other powers to deal with a temporary situation, I beg to move that Clause 18 be left out.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The effect of leaving out Clause 18 would be to make the whole Bill applicable to Ireland, without any qualification.
§ Amendment proposed, after the word "shall" ["This Act shall apply to Ireland"], insert the word "not."—[Mr. Hogge.]
§ Mr. KILEY
I rise to support the proposal of the hon. Member for East Edinburgh, and I desire to emphasise the point which he has made of the different penalties that will arise for the same offence. I will repeat a proposition which I put before the Committee when it was considering this Bill upstairs. Take the question of an Irishman leaving Dublin and going to Glasgow, and purchasing a firearm. If he is in Glasgow 83 with that firearm in his possession without authority from the Chief of Police, the utmost he can receive is three months' imprisonment, but if he is able to get across the water and land in Dublin with that very same firearm the penalty is two years. I think this in the first time in the history of the making of laws in this House that we have inflicted a totally different penalty for the one and same offence, and if I am correct in assuming that, then I do ask the House to consider well the proposition. If for the same offence two totally different penalties can be inflicted, I think we are justified in hesitating to consider where this position might eventually land us. I do not know whether any hon. Member has studied this Bill. Here is a Bill with eighteen Clauses of a far-reaching character, and they will have the result of producing an immense number of criminals for the first time. The Clauses have been so tightened up that there is practically little loophole or excuse for any variation from the strict letter of the law. These Clauses may be very useful and may be suitable for the conditions in England, but if you consider the effect they will have in Ireland, where the conditions are totally different, and where the people will have little or no knowledge of the provisions of this Act, I can see any amount of trouble that will arise, and the great difficulty which will confront the Government in administering it. We may assume that there is very little chance of this Clause being put into effect. If the present Defence of the Realm Act regulations, or if the special Bill which we have just passed, are not sufficiently stern, we ought to have made them sterner. Now this Bill is brought in, and if a person understands one Bill and evades it, he may immediately find himself drawn in by the provisions of another Bill. Is it not more or less a farce? We are going to concede to the Irish people the right to manage their own affairs; yet in this Bill and in the Irish Census Bill which is on the Paper for to-day we are legislating on matters referring to that unfortunate country.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I support the Amendment, but on somewhat different grounds. At the present time there are many statutes and restrictions in force, including the Defence of the 84 Realm Act, for preventing the illegal carrying and possession of lethal weapons in Ireland. The powers of the Defence of the Realm Act are very wide. Hon. Members may say, "We may one day get peace"—but I suppose they will agree with me that it is very doubtful at the present time whether we shall get peace in our time; "therefore the Defence of the Realm Act will lapse." There are many other statutes, some of which are mentioned in the Bill, which deal with the carrying of firearms in Ireland, but there is this difference, that under this Bill special permits can be given to certain persons to carry firearms. My objection to that is that it would not be applied impartially. I am as strongly in favour as anyone could possibly be of taking possession of all the arms in Ireland. I would go further, and remove all the armed forces. Meanwhile, I would take possession of all the revolvers and rifles scattered about that unhappy country. Eighteen months ago, before there were any political murders to speak of, a young man was arrested for carrying a revolver in his pocket, and was taken before a court-martial in Cork and sentenced to eighteen months' hard labour. I do not know whether that was a serious penalty to inflict upon him, but I do know that during the recent disturbances in Londonderry five gentlemen were arrested for having rifles and ammunition in their possession, and for carrying the arms openly and using them, and when they were taken before a special Court of two resident magistrates they were fined £5. I questioned the Chief Secretary about this, and he gave me the additional information that some Catholic Irishmen had also been arrested for carrying rifles, and they had been given the same penalty of £5. I want to say that to be quite fair.
Why should it be that eighteen months ago, when there was comparative peace in Ireland, a young man in Cork should be sentenced to eighteen months' hard labour for carrying a revolver, and that in Derry after several days of severe fighting, when many people had lost their lives, certain persons should only be fined £5 for being in possession of rifles. That passes my comprehension. The only explanation is that there are two laws in Ireland, one for the political opponents of the Government and another for their political supporters and 85 friends. Since these unfortunate troubles in Londonderry I have put question after question to the Chief Secretary asking what progress has been made with the disarmament of the citizens of Londonderry, and the answers have usually been evasive. Recently I have had an answer to the effect that a small number of revolvers and one or two rifles have been taken. I am unable at the moment to recollect the exact figures, but the House may take it from me that the property seized was very small. The Government have taken no adequate steps to search out—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
We are discussing the future in this Bill. The hon. Member is discussing the past. That is not the question before the House.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I do not want to contravene your ruling, Mr. Speaker, but it seems to me that the Government could have taken possession of the arms which we know to be in Londonderry under the powers which they possess, and I do not think that we should give them the powers asked for in this Bill until they show their good faith. I would like to ask the Attorney-General for Ireland whether he can assure us that when this Bill is passed Clause 18 will be applied impartially. When these additional powers have been given to him is it the intention to take steps to seize the arms which are scattered about, the north-east of Ireland, or is he only going to use the powers in this Bill to give permits to certain favoured individuals to carry arms, and that that is the only part of the Bill which is to be applied? I object to the ages set up in this Bill for Ireland as compared with England. I asked for some explanation on Second Reading, but I got no satisfactory answer. I asked why Ireland should be treated differently in this matter from England. Why is a person only dangerous when he is 16 in England and when he is 14 in Ireland. In other words, why should a boy of 14 be allowed to carry firearms in England as compared with the age of 16 in Ireland. I have seen a good many Irish boys and English boys, and I have not noticed much difference between them age for age, and I cannot understand why that difference is made. If the Government are sincere in desiring to give a full measure of self-government 86 to Ireland, or to the two portions of Ireland into which they insist on dividing the country, why not leave this legislation to them? Why bring in a special clause applying to Ireland in this Bill? One doubts, and there is good reason for doubting, the Government's declared policy when we see special legislation brought in for Ireland, and I ask the House to reject this Clause.
§ Mr. JAMESON
I oppose the Amendment. I have a certain objection to the Clause, but it is of an entirely different character from those put forward by the hon. Member. For very many peaceful, law-abiding people it is a necessity of life almost that, if they are to remain in life, they shall have firearms with which to defend themselves against murderers and rebels. It may be very strongly urged that in this Bill by taking away from them very possibly their chance, or diminishing their chance, of getting arms with which to defend their lives and property you may strengthen the disloyal and criminal forces in Ireland. An alleviation of that—and without it I should probably vote against the Bill being applied to Ireland—is that permits are allowed to be granted under this Clause. The Government are enabled to grant permits to people who are in the position of having very likely to defend themselves, because the Government do not show a very great enthusiasm in defending the loyal subject in Ireland against the campaign of outrage and crime that is going on there. By granting these permits they will give them a chance of defending themselves. It is nonsense to talk about impartiality between the two sections in Ireland, because that obviously means impartiality between the murderer and the person he is trying to murder. The danger is that if you pass a law like this it will be obeyed by the peaceable subject, but not by the murderers and criminals. Therefore, the latter will retain their arms while the murderee, if I may use the word, will be deprived of his arms. That is the reason for these permits being granted, and without that provision the Bill would be against the loyal section of the population. You cannot deal impartially between the criminal and the peaceable citizen. It is the business of the law to take the side of the peaceable citizen, and be against the criminal and the murderer. Accordingly, everything that tends to 87 deprive the criminal and the murderer of the chance of committing his crimes, and which gives the loyal citizen the chance of defending himself against the criminal, ought to be supported by anybody who hates to see the reign of anarchy and terror and the sort of hell that rages in three-quarters of Ireland at the present time.
§ Major BARNETT
I trust that the Government will not accept the Amendment, which rests upon a very patent and transparent fallacy—the fallacy that the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition in Ireland is the same offence as the unlawful possession of arms and ammunition in this country. Let us test that proposition. If I lit my pipe in the smoking room of this House and threw a lighted match into the waste-paper basket I should be accused of carelessness and that would be the end of it. If I lit my pipe at the London Docks and threw the match into one of the warehouses where wool and other things are stored, I should very probably be fined 40s. and costs for my carelessness. If I lit my pipe and threw the match into a powder magazine I should very probably be sent to prison. [HON. MEMBERS: "To Heaven!"] It seems to me that if we apply that test to the argument of the Mover of the Amendment it disposes of the Amendment absolutely.
§ Major ENTWISTLE
I have listened to the last two speakers with some surprise. Their arguments are entirely to advocate differential treatment for Ireland in view of the present state of affairs in that country. The whole point made by the hon. Member for East Edinburgh was that this provision is going to impose permanent law on Ireland as regards the use of firearms. There is no limitation in this Act as to the length of its duration. It repeals the Pistols Act of 1903, and will form a permanent part of the law of this country and of Ireland. The point is: Is there any justification for making a permanent differentiation between Ireland and England? If you say that the present state of affairs calls for exceptional measures and precautions, that is agreed, and the answer is that you have those in the Defence of the Realm Regulations and in the powers under the Act recently passed by this House for the Restoration of Order in 88 Ireland. That is the only point which is really relevant to this Section. What is the excuse for putting on the Statute Book a permanent Act when you have powers to deal with a temporary situation? For the same offence an Irishman would be sentenced to two years' imprisonment, and an Englishman to only three months' imprisonment. Is there any justification for casting this permanent stigma on the Irish nation and character? It seems like gratuitous provocation, and there is no object at all in this Section remaining in the Bill. I am sorry that the Amendment has been put in the form moved by the hon. Member. I would have preferred to say that "This Act shall apply to Ireland," and to eliminate all succeeding words. That would leave the Act to apply to Ireland in exactly the same way as it applies to England.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL for IRELAND (Mr. D. M. Wilson)
If this Bill is necessary in England it is 100 times more necessary in Ireland. Reference has been made to the condition of affairs which led to this Bill being brought in and applied to Great Britain. In Great Britain there have been attacks on banks and post offices and the holding up of citizens by people with arms. To meet those conditions this Bill was considered necessary. In reference to Ireland, after the Debate we had last week I do not propose to weary the House by going into the facts. You must remember that in Ireland there 300,000 or 400,000 people in possession of arms, and they are organised and drilled. A certain percentage of them are committing assassinations and murders, and a still greater percentage are engaged every day and night in making attacks on patrols of police and oh companies of soldiers. When you read your newspapers you see that the attackers have captured arms and that they have inflicted great injury, and sometimes death, upon the servants of this House and of the Government, who have nothing whatever to do with the political matters which are debated in this House. I think all hon. Members will agree that, no matter what may be the ultimate settlement of the Irish Question, it is the duty of the Opposition, as of the Government, to give every conceivable protection to those officers who are carrying out the instructions of this House. What is the fundamental condition which makes these attacks and assas- 89 sinations successful? It is the possession of arm and ammunition and explosives. The necessity for the Bill is far greater in Ireland than in England, and punishment by three months' imprisonment, which might be sufficient in England, is by no means sufficient in Ireland. One of the great advantages of the punishment proposed is that it may intimidate people from committing crime and induce them to give up their arms.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Are not all these powers already in force in Ireland, and is not the carrying of arms there already illegal?
§ Mr. WILSON
All the powers in this Bill are not already in force in Ireland. The full provisions of this Bill have never been carried out by any Order under Defence of the Realm Act. It is necessary that we should be in a position to defend the servants of the Crown. As the Prime Minister said last week, it is our duty to see that every resource and every protection is used to prevent these people from being massacred in the performance of their duty. I am sure all hon. Members would agree with that. This Bill will apply automatically to the whole of Ireland. As hon. Members know, orders made under Defence of the Realm Act, and also under the Restoration of Order Bill, are curtailed to the objects of those Bills, and they apply by Orders in Council, and not automatically to the whole of Ireland. The provisions of this Bill will be carried out by the Government absolutely impartially in the whole of Ireland. Everyone is looking forward, after the speech of the Prime Minister, to the Irish Question being settled, and, no matter what form of government is set up in Ireland, I submit that it will be necessary, in order to bring about stable government in that country, that the people should be disarmed. At present the officers of the Government, the magistrates and officials walk through the streets, and the men who carry arms are in mufti. A policeman sees a respectable-looking man, and does not know what he is or what he intends to do. The provisions of this Bill should be very valuable in the hands of any Government, however extreme, which may be set up in Ireland.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. D. M. WILSON
I beg to move, at the end of the Clause, to insert a new Sub-section— 90(10) The exemption in favour of any person conducting or carrying on a miniature rifle range or shooting gallery or using a miniature rifle or ammunition at any such range or gallery shall not apply.
§ Mr. KILEY
Has not the Government already all the power it requires under its Regulations? Why should a fair in Ulster, or anywhere else where all is peaceful, not be permitted, if the people want it, and if the authorities do not anticipate trouble? If the authorities anticipate trouble, they could put their special legislation into effect. As has been said, this legislation is for all time. I should have preferred special legislation for special purposes.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."
§ 5.0 P.M.
Colonel LAMBERT WARD
I desire to refer to the position of rifle clubs under this Bill. As a result of many years' experience I have found that the members of civilian rifle clubs are a loyal law abiding body of men, and the very last men in the whole world who would use the rifle club as a centre of agitation or for the dissemination of Bolshevist propaganda. During the War these clubs were a very considerable strength to the country and I do not think anybody can speak too highly of the value of the recruits which many of the territorial units received from those clubs. I can assure the House that had it not been for the fact that at least 50 per cent. of the recruits of territorial units at the outbreak of war came from the rifle clubs, it would have been impossible to send territorial units out to Prance as was done in the early days of September, 1914. I think, generally, that has been the experience of a very large number of those who were charged with the recruiting of thousands of Territorials, who helped to fill the gap between the old Army and the appearance of the new Army, which we knew then under the name of the Kitchener Army. I must admit that the Government have not been altogether unyielding on this point, and they have so altered the wording of the Clause as to allow the use and carrying of firearms by Territorials and members of civilian rifle clubs when engaged in drill or in practice. That is a very useful concession, but in spite of my efforts in Committee 91 I was unable to induce the Government to give way on the question of purchasing or obtaining possession of these weapons.
As the Bill stands, although a Territorial may use and carry a rifle, he cannot purchase or retain possession of same. That means that he is unable to use a private weapon for practice on a range, and in that way to make himself efficient. I know, of course, that all he has to do is to obtain a permit from the local chief police officer at a cost of 5s. That is not an insuperable difficulty, nor is the amount exorbitant, but failing definite instructions from the Home Office, it is quite possible the local chief of police may consider it his duty to issue as few permits as he possibly can, and may place every obstacle in the way of members of rifle clubs or Territorials. Those may be men whose pleasure it is to use their spare time in making themselves proficient in the use of the rifle, in preference to playing golf or tennis or idling on the river, amusements which, while pleasant, have a very small national value. Throughout the War the National Rifle Association was empowered under Order-in-Council to issue permits to certain members to purchase arms and ammunition. Although I quite recognise the difficulty of making exceptions in a Bill, I do suggest that the Government should issue such Regulations as will facilitate, or, at any rate, not place insuperable difficulties in the way of Territorials or members of rifle clubs obtaining weapons, so that they may make themselves proficient in their use. As the Teritorial Force is a principal part of our armed forces, it cannot, I suppose, be the intention of the Government to place obstacles in the way of these men practising and becoming efficient. I suggest that no unnecessary obstacle should be placed in their way, so that in the event of the country being confronted with another war, we may be able to rely on that great reservoir of semi-trained men who proved so useful in 1914.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I agree with much of what has just been said, and I join with the hon. and gallant Member as to the value of the rifle practice before the War. We are faced with another War now, and we will not get peace until the present Government goes out. Having utterly failed to estab- 92 lish the reign of peace we were promised, I think we had better encourage rifle clubs in every possible way and train young men to the profession of arms and let us give up the idea of disarmament and the reign of peace which the Government have taken care shall not come. When this Bill passes any possessor of firearms who does not go to a magistrate is liable to a fine not exceeding £20 or to three months' imprisonment, or to both. The Bill does not apply to shot-guns, but it does, I understand, to rook-rifles. It has been the habit of many householders to keep a revolver. The householder might only want it once in a lifetime, but when he did want it it would be very badly indeed. According to the common law if a householder finds his house being broken into between sunset and sunrise he is entitled to fire upon the intruder. That householder will have to go at once to the police or incur a penalty. Then you have demobilised men who have got revolvers and with no evil intent. There are also the professional burglars and robbers, for whom I am not pleading. All those alike will be liable unless they get permits. What steps is the Home Secretary going to take to make this law known? I have got several firearms in my house, and it is only by chance, because I am a Member of Parliament, that I happen to know of this Bill being passed. I am sure many Members do not know of it, and as an evidence of that look at the number present in the House now.
I would ask the Attorney-General for Ireland whether this Bill is going to be used to disarm the civil population in Ireland. The Solicitor-General for Ireland told us just now that this Bill was going to be applied impartially. Are they now going to take possession of all arms which they can lay hold of in Ireland, and to take the stores of revolvers in Ulster? Are they going to ask General Hackett Payne, the Chief of Police in Belfast, where the stores are, and to demand their surrender? Will they do so before there is more bloodshed? In Londonderry armed men sprang out of the ground like the mythical dragon's teeth in the ancient story, and it gave the authorities considerable difficulty to put a stop to the rioting. That is simply disgraceful. Will the Government take possession of all weapons all over Ireland? 93 We on this side are against the murders and assassinations of which the Solicitor-General spoke, and we are in favour of all weapons being taken possession of, irrespective of the creed or politics of those who have them. The Government have been doing their level best in the South and West to get possession of the weapons. Thy have carried out several thousands of raids, mostly by troops in the dead of night, and they have made most exhaustive searches for weapons and documents, and I suppose they managed to capture them. It is not this Bill they want to enable them to get hold of assassins, and it is a very unfair advantage to represent, because of certain criticisms, that we are not equally in favour with them of getting possession of the weapons. We are, and we want the thing done impartially.
Is Ireland, as far as possible, going to be, disarmed now, or are we going to wait for more bloodshed and suffering in that island? One hon. and gallant Member who spoke just now, I think it was the Member for West Edinburgh (Mr. Jameson), pleaded for differentiation. He said that certain people in Ireland ought to be armed. I want to make one protest against that. I will not enter into details, but it is admitted that, in the South and West of Ireland, Catholics and Protestants are perfectly safe. An hon. and gallant Member representing one of the Southern constituencies in Ireland bears me out in this. His co-religionists in the South and West have left alone the Unionists and Protestants as such, and impartial and fair-minded testimony has been borne to that fact in this House, and by the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and others whose words carry weight. The hon. Member for West Edinburgh says it is necessary to pick out certain people in Ireland and to arm them. That is preaching pure anarchy and madness. What we want to see is a different rule of order in Ireland, and that is not going to be brought about by this Bill. I will not indicate how that can be brought about, as it would not be within the scope of this discussion, but I do say that this Bill will not do it. By all means, get possession of those rifles in the north-east of Ulster, which are probably one of the main excuses for the possession of arms in the country.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Shortt)
I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend below the Gangway (Colonel L. Ward) that the last thing the Government intend is to bring discouragement to any single rifle club. The Bill makes specific provision to give certain privileges to members of rifle clubs. It is necessary for those members to get permits to use their rifles. Anyone who wants to use his individual rifle can do so on getting a permit. This is a small thing and must be done in future.
Colonel L. WARD
I agree that it would be a small thing if the chief officer of the local police is willing to grant the permit; but, if he is not, unless specific orders are made by the Secretary of State, the applicant may, under certain circumstances, have to go further.
§ Mr. SHORTT
Had the hon. and gallant Gentleman not interrupted me by repeating a portion of his former speech, I should have dealt, with that point. He must not assume that any police officer will act in hostility to any member of a rifle club or from sheer stupidity. If any undesirable person should be a member of one of these clubs and should apply for a permit it would be right that he should not receive that permit, but any man who is refused a permit can always appeal to the local Bench and the local Bench will know him and will know therefore how to take in all the circumstances. Any man who wishes to use his own rifle will be able to do so if he obtains a permit. This Bill will not harm any single rifle club, and is not intended to do so. With regard to the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy), I will consider very carefully what can be done to make these regulations generally known. It always is the case that, where fresh regulations are made, there are always a number of persons who do not know that there has been a change in the law and who do not know the new provisions and who, therefore, have to be warned of them. I will consider carefully how that can best be done in these cases. With regard to Ireland, I do not think I need to repeat what has been said by my hon. and learned Friend, the Attorney-General for Ireland, that the intention of the Irish Government is to carry out this Act as completely and as 95 impartially as possible. This Bill has been very fully considered. It has been considered on the Second reading and it has been very well considered in Committee, and all promiss made during the Committee Stage to be dealt with on the Report Stage have been loyally carried out, and, therefore, I ask the House to give this Bill a Third reading.