HL Deb 12 February 1996 vol 569 cc40-2WA
Lord Marlesford

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What recommendations were made by the Firearms Consultative Committee in each of its most recent six annual reports, indicating in respect of each recommendation what action, if any, has been taken.

Baroness Blatch:

A summary of the committee's recommendations is contained in each of their six annual reports, copies of which are in the Library.

Annex F to the Committee's fifth annual report (1993–94) lists the recommendations contained in their first to fourth annual reports together with a note indicating the action taken on each recommendation. Since that annex was published, the recommendations relating to increase in the life of certificates (paragraphs 2.17 and 2.18 of Annex F),police civilians to be able to handle firearms in the course of their duty (Section 54 of the Firearms Act 1968) (paragraph 2.20 of Annex F), widening the range of offences applicable to the misuse of imitation firearms (paragraph 3.4 of Annex F) and use of large magazine smooth bore guns for clay pigeon shooting as a secondary use (paragraph 3.25 of Annex F) have been implemented. The proposal to establish a Firearms Control Board (paragraph 3.1 of Annex F) was rejected in July 1994.

Of the recommendations made in the fifth annual report, new deactivation standards have been introduced and the Home Office has set up a working group to consider the committee's proposals on licensing by category. We have accepted those recommendations where the committee has recommended no change. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department has rejected the committee's recommendations on adding drugs offences to Schedule 1 relating to section 17(2) offences and a proposed new offence of supplying firearms. The committee accepted in its sixth annual report that its recommendations about section 5(1)(ah) of the Firearms Act 1968 (as amended) could not be implemented. Other recommendations which require further action are under consideration.

Of the recommendations made in the sixth annual report, we have implemented the committee's recommendations for new criteria for rifle and pistol clubs. The other recommendations from this report are under consideration.

Implementation of a considerable number of the Firearms Consultative Committee's recommendations will require primary legislation to amend the Firearms Acts. I am unable to say when parliamentary time might be available for legislation on firearms matters.