HC Deb 09 November 1933 vol 281 cc419-21

Mr. HACKING: I beg to move, in page 3, line 5, at the end, to insert the words: and includes, except for the purpose of the definition of the expression 'imitation firearm,' a prohibited weapon as defined by section six of the Firearms Act, 1920.

I gave my reasons yesterday for the inclusion of these words, and it is not necessary for me to say anything more at this stage.

Amendment agreed to.


The three new Clauses standing on the Order Paper in the name of the hon. Member for Elland (Mr. Levy)"Surrender of firearms to police," "Issue of permits," and "Penalty for possession of firearms "—are outside the scope of the Bill.

Schedule (Offences to which Section2 applies),agreed to.

Bill reported, with an Amendment; as amended, considered.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."

7.33 p.m.


This Bill has had a very easy passage indeed, as it deserves, and the right hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary of State has explained the several Clauses in the Bill, but I think he will remember that I put the point to him last evening as to what in fact has induced the Government to produce this Bill at all. When I say that, it does not indicate that we are opposed to the Bill, hut I think the House is entitled to know from the Government the reasons why they bring forward a Measure of this kind. I should have thought that criminal statistics, actual facts from police authorities, would have been given to the House of Commons to warrant the introduction of the Measure, and when I raised this point last evening, the hon. and gallant Member for Chelmsford (Sir V. Henderson) tried to reply to my question by stating that out at a banquet of magistrates somewhere the other day he was informed by the magistrates there that there was great necessity for a Bill of this type, but even then his answer did not convince me that there, vas any real justification, from facts, for the production of this Measure. As I have said, I am not opposed to it, arid we on this side agree with the Measure, bet I think the House is entitled to some more information as to the reasons for the emergence of the Measure at all, and it would please me personally very much if the right hon. Gentleman could give us those details now.

7.35 p.m.


The hon. Member asked me to produce statistics to warrant the introduction and passage of this Bill into law. Frankly, we have no statistics which would prove the necessity for such a Bill, but the Government are very frequently ridiculed for being behind the times and only introducing legislation when it is too late. Certainly on this occasion we cannot have that accusation hurled at us, and it may be claimed then that we are legislating actually ahead of a necessity. I said yesterday that although gunmen are not particularly numerous in this country, not as numerous as they are in some other countries in the world, we do not desire that that undesirable profession should be. remunerative or should become popular in any way, and that is the reason why we have introduced this Bill. There is no doubt whatsoever that many criminals have been assisted in escaping by the threatening attitude that they have taken up, by using what may only have been a dummy revolver. It is because we know there have been cases, although I am not prepared, and would not be able even if notice were given to me, to give full statistics as to the number of offences of this kind that have taken place, that we bring in this Bill. We know that there have been instances of this kind, and we desire to legislate in advance in order to prevent this profession from becoming, as I say, either popular or remunerative.