§ Mr. Hickmet
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement upon the availability of handguns, legally and illegally, and what his policy is in relation to the issue of licences for handguns.
§ Mr. Giles Shaw
[pursuant to his reply, 19 February, c. 177]: The information kept centrally about the number of firearm certificates issued by chief officers of police does not distinguish between those issued in respect of handguns and those authorising the possession of other weapons. The criteria for granting certificates were set out in the reply given to the hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Michie) on 11 February at column 393. Although there is no reliable estimate of the number of illegal handguns in circulation, the number of notifiable offences in which a pistol was reported to have been used in 1984 was 1,232. In the same year, 164 pistols were reported to have been stolen in burglaries and thefts.