§ 52. Mr. HAYES
asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that sales are taking place in this country of large quantities of so-called toy pistols and 1921 revolvers; whether he will say if they are manufactured in this country as well as imported from abroad; whether he has any information as to the ease with which these weapons can be converted into lethal weapons, and whether he will declare by rule, under the Firearms Act, 1920, such weapons to be of a dangerous character?
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
Yes, Sir, but I have no information as to the extent to which such imitation firearms are made at home and abroad, respectively. The ease or difficulty of making them capable of discharging a missile depends in each case on the nature and thickness of the metal to be drilled out or sawn off; and whether they would then be lethal or not would in each case be a question of fact for a Court to decide. It is also for the Courts to decide whether before or after such alteration they would come within the Firearms Act, 1920. I have no power to make rules of the kind suggested.
§ Mr. HAYES
In view of the great importance of public security, may I ask the Home Secretary whether he has had any representations made to him on this subject by the various authorities concerning the use of firearms; and has his attention been drawn to a decision given by the Crewe magistrates, who discharged a case on technical grounds and suggested that the use of these firearms was a very urgent matter which the Home Office ought to take up?
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
I have not read the particular case at Crewe, but I have had my attention drawn to several other cases. Legislation would be necessary to deal with the matter. As far as I can find out, I have no power to deal with these cases, and, unless the House is prepared to grant a Bill without discussion, I am afraid that there would be no time to introduce such a Measure.
§ Mr. CRAWFURD
In view of the apparent ease with which firearms can be obtained, and in view of the fact that several well-known crimes have been committed by the use of firearms, will the right hon. Gentleman consider whether some sort of inquiry should be set up to go into the whole question of the use of firearms?
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Arthur Michael Samuel)
The hon. Member is under a misapprehension. There is no import duty on toy pistols, revolvers, or lethal weapons.