HC Deb 16 March 1978 vol 946 cc291-2W
56. Mr. Eldon Griffiths

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in view of the greatly increased frequency in the use of firearms in the course of major robberies committed in London, he will reconsider the evidence submitted by the Police Federation on the abolition of capital punishment, in which the Federation predicted that this would lead to an increase in the use of guns in the commission of crime: and if he will make a statement on any further measures he is taking or proposing to take to limit the availability and punish more severely the use of such weapons by criminals.

Mr. John

The question of capital punishment has been considered at frequent intervals and we are satisfied that there are no grounds for reintroducing it. The Firearms Act 1968 provides a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for certain offences involving the possession or use of firearms for criminal purposes and 14 years' imprisonment for others. Nevertheless, the increasing use of shotguns in violent crime is a disturbing trend. Proposals for legislation to make it more difficult for criminals to obtain such weapons were circulated to interested parties last year. In the light of comments received on those proposals, the Government intend to introduce legislation.