§ Mr. Amess
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will extend the validation period of shotgun certificates from three years to six years; and if he will make a statement;
(2) if he will introduce legislation to extend the validation period of firearms certificates to six years; and if he will make a statement;
(3) what representations he has received (a) supporting and (b) opposing the extension of the validation period of shotgun certificates from three years to six years; what the percentage the latter is of the former; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Douglas Hogg
We have received occasional representations on this matter but details are not available in the form requested. Proposals for extending from three to six years the validity of shotgun and firearm certificates were made during the passage of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988. These were not acceptable to the Government. I remain of the view that review of the conditions attached to a certificate and the circumstances of the holder at three-yearly intervals is right, and that to extend the period to six years would represent an unacceptable relaxation of the controls. We have, however, made provision in the 1988 Act for the co-termination of firearm and shotgun certificates, which will represent a substantial saving in costs for those holding both types of certificate.
§ Mr. Douglas Hogg
Section 5 of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 makes it an offence to sell shotgun ammunition to a person (other than a dealer in such ammunition) unless that person produces his shotgun certificate, or produces a certificate belonging to some other person together with a written authority from the holder to purchase the ammunition on his behalf, or shows that he is entitled to possess a shotgun without holding a certificate. This is an important strengthening of the law which it is intended to bring into force, with other relevant new provisions, by way of a second commencement order early in the summer.