§ Mr. Stern
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the arrangements for the granting of shotgun licences to minors.
§ Mr. Douglas Hogg
Under section 28 of the Firearms Act 1968 it is open to a chief officer of police to refuse to grant a shotgun certificate if he has reason to believe that an applicant is prohibited by the Act from possessing a shotgun, or cannot be permitted to possess one without danger to the public safety or to the peace. In relation to shotguns there are no specified age restrictions, but age is one factor which the chief officer may take into account in reaching a decision.
New, stricter controls for the issue of shotgun certificates will come into force under the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 later this year. The Act changes the emphasis so that a chief officer has to be satisfied that the applicant can be permitted to possess a shotgun without danger to the public safety or to the peace. It also contains a new provision to the effect that a certificate shall not be issued if the chief officer is satisfied that the applicant does not have a good reason for possessing, purchasing or acquiring a shotgun.