HC Deb 09 March 1995 vol 256 cc308-9W
Mr. Nicholas Winterton

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has concerning the number of non-functioning deactivated firearms which are currently held in the United Kingdom; what licences are required for such firearms; on how many occasions in each of the last five years for which figures are available such firearms have been used in the course of the perpetration of crimes; what sentences are provided by law for the use of such firearms; what plans he has to review the law in this area; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maclean

Firearms deactivated in accordance with the provisions set out in section 8 of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 fall outside the scope of firearms controls and do not therefore require a firearms certificate. Figures are not available about the number of deactivated firearms of the occasions on which such weapons have been used. The use of a firearm or imitation firearm in the furtherance of crime carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

In the light of concerns that some deactivated firearms have been illegally restored to working order and subsequently used in crime, the standards to which guns are deactivated have been reviewed and more stringent specifications will be introduced shortly.

Mr. George

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the existing law preventing the sale to the public or easy access by the public to non-lethal weapons, with particular reference to Air Taser and other stun guns.

Mr. Maclean

Air Taser and other stun guns are classed as prohibited weapons under section 5(1)(b) of the Firearms Act 1968, as amended. Their possession, acquisition, manufacture, sale or transfer is prohibited without the authority of the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State does not grant authority to individual members of the public to possess such weapons. Possession of a prohibited weapon without authority is an offence for which the maximum penalty is 10 years, imprisonment or an unlimited fine or both. I am satisfied that the existing law in this area is adequate.