§ 13. Mr. HANNON
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department the number of firearms which have been submitted to the police during the past few months; whether these arms are to be retained indefinitely by the Government; and whether any case has been brought to his notice of any of these firearms being re-sold to the public?
The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Captain Crookshank)
My right hon. Friend has obtained returns from all chief constables in England and Wales showing the numbers of firearms surrendered during March and April as the result of the appeal made by the police to the public to surrender unwanted weapons. These returns show that the total number of weapons surrendered in that period was 8,469, of which 5,475 were pistols and revolvers, 2,313 were rifles and shot-guns, 638 were antique firearms and trophies, and 43 were unclassified. In addition, 151,657 rounds of ammunition were surrendered, together with 379 shells, grenades and bombs. Chief constables have been advised by my right hon. Friend that any surrendered firearms which are not retained for police pur- 1119 poses and are not destroyed locally should not be sold, but should be handed over to the military authorities for destruction. One chief constable reports that a few service revolvers have been sold by him to registered firearms dealers, but that such sales have now been discontinued.
§ Mr. HANNON
I thank my hon. and gallant Friend for his interesting reply. Can he tell us that in no circumstances will there be a re-sale of these firearms in competition with legitimate firms?
Can the Under-Secretary say whether any large proportion of these rifles and revolvers were held by persons holding the requisite licence?
I cannot say. In reply to the hon. Member for Moseley (Mr. Hannon), I have already said that my right hon. Friend has advised chief constables to that effect, and in actual practice only a few—less than 20—were sold, in one case.
§ Mr. GODFREY NICHOLSON
Can the Under-Secretary say whether the period in which those who surrender firearms will not be prosecuted, has expired?