§ 30. Mr. LAWSON
asked the Home Secretary if he is aware that a machine gun in good condition was handed in at a Newcastle police station on 29th May; and whether he will consider what steps can be taken to ensure that specially dangerous weapons, as distinct from ordinary firearms, cannot be possessed by private persons?
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
Yes, Sir. I have obtained reports from which it appears that the machine gun in question is War Department property believed to have been lost by some unit on disbandment at the end of the War. The person who surrendered the machine gun to the Newcastle police states that a case, of whose contents he was unaware, was left in his custody in 1921 or 1922 and that he only recently became aware that the case contained a machine gun, when he immediately took steps to hand it over to the police in pursuance of the appeal made to the public for the surrender of firearms. As regards the second part of the question, a machine gun is, of couse, a firearm within the meaning of the Firearms Act, 1920, which imposes rigid restrictions on the purchase, possession and use of firearms. As I informed the House on 166 the 19th December last, I have reached the conclusion, after careful consideration, that the present law regulating the control of firearms is adequate provided its provisions are rigorously applied and I see nothing in the circumstances of this unusual case to cause me to alter my opinion.
§ Mr. LAWSON
Can the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that there is no one who has a small tank, or something like that in his possession?