§ Mr. Greg Knight
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the prohibition under section 1 of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 came into effect; and if he will give details of the Government buy-in scheme.
§ Mr. Hurd
As I stated in my reply of 20 December at column184, to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Luton, South (Mr. Bright) on this matter, the new categories of prohibited weapons, including self-loading and pump action rifles, come into effect on 1 February. The buy-in scheme will run for a period of three months until 30 April. Leaflets providing full details of the scheme and incorporating a claim form are available from police stations and rifle and pistol clubs.96W
Owners of newly prohibited weapons are eligible to make a claim under the scheme if they legitimately acquired or entered into a contract to purchase their weapons before 23 September 1987 or have already sold their weapon since that date for less than the amount available under the scheme.
Owners of weapons affected by the prohibition who are ineligible to apply or who do not wish to take advantage of the buy-in scheme must arrange to dispose of their weapons by not later than 30 April. They must do so either by sale to a registered firearms dealer or by transferring the weapon to such a dealer for deactivation; or by surrender to the police.
The penalty for possession of a prohibited weapon without the appropriate authority is up to five years' imprisonment or a fine of up to £2,000 or both.