§ Mr. William Hamilton
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he intends to take to control more severely the purchase and ownership of firearms; and if he will take legislative action to ensure that anyone in unlawful possession of a firearm shall be subject to a prison sentence of not less than five years.
§ Mr. Ross
The Government have progressively strengthened the statutory controls over the purchase, ownership and use of firearms in the Firearms Act of 1965, the Criminal Justice Act of 1967 and the Firearms Act of 1968, but I am keeping the situation under review. Unlawful possession can be punished with a sentence of up to 3 years' imprisonment, a fine, or both. If firearms carried with the intent to evade arrest, endanger life or injure property, the penalty can be as high as 14 years' imprisonment even where no injury to person or property has occurred. It is for the courts to determine the most appropriate penalty in each case.