HC Deb 26 April 1956 vol 551 cc1944-5
3. Mrs. Braddock

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware that, from January, 1955 to March, 1956, 14 cases of eye injury were dealt with in St. Paul's Eye Hospital, Liverpool, due to injury by airgun pellets; that in all cases either the eye had to be removed or the sight was destroyed; and if, in view of this serious position, he will introduce legislation to make the sale of airguns illegal, excepting under licence as for firearms.

Major Lloyd-George

I have made inquiries and I am told that the hospital records show only four cases during the period mentioned. I have no evidence to suggest that there has been an increase in accidents caused by air weapons since the report in 1934 of the Departmental Committee on whose recommendations the existing law is based.

Mrs. Braddock

Is the Home Secretary not aware that this matter requires urgent attention? Is he further aware that since this Question has been on the Order Paper I have received correspondence from all over the country, and that this week there have appeared in the Press two cases of eye injury caused by airguns? Is he also aware that I have quoted the actual figures from St. Paul's Eye Hospital at Liverpool and that there can be no question about those figures? Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman look into this matter, because there is very grave public concern, and it requires immediate legislation?

Major Lloyd-George

I would not go so far as to agree with the hon. Lady that the matter requires immediate legislation, because the figures, taking the country as a whole, are no different from what they were when the Committee made the report. I am, however, a little worried about the discrepancy in the figures. The figure which the hon. Lady has mentioned is 14. I have had inquiries made through the police and, according to the entry on the books at the hospital, the figure is only four. There is such a big discrepancy that I shall be glad to look into the matter.