HL Deb 01 July 1975 vol 362 cc90-1

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the first Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they propose to take any action in regard to revising the regulations controlling the possession of firearms, and if so when this may be expected.

The MINISTER of STATE, HOME OFFICE (Lord Harris of Greenwich)

Yes, my Lords, we agree that the existing controls need to be improved and intend to introduce appropriate legislation when a Parliamentary opportunity occurs.


My Lords, is my noble friend aware that I have been pursuing this matter for four years in this House, and have constantly had assurances of that kind, that the regulations would be both revised and better informed? Despite the fact that a Working Party of chief constables made recommendations on those points three years ago, nothing whatever of a practical nature has been done. Is my noble friend further aware that from figures given to me by successive Ministers on different sides of the House during these four years over 60 people in this Island have been shot by shotguns let alone other firearms, excluding cases of suicide or accident?


Yes, my Lords, the Government are well aware of the importance of this matter. That is why we have proposed to introduce legislation whenever a Parliamentary opportunity occurs to do so.


My Lords, is the noble Lord aware that we have been discussing Government Bills of no obvious urgency for a considerable space of time this Session? Does my noble friend regard the Lotteries Bill, for example, as of more vital and immediate urgency than the question of the safety of Her Majesty's subjects?


My Lords, this will be a far more substantial piece of legislation than the Lotteries Bill. As the previous Government discovered when they published their Green Paper, this is a highly complicated question. The Government are well aware of the importance of this matter, and certainly we will introduce legislation when we possibly can.