HC Deb 15 February 1996 vol 271 c707W
Mr. Loyden

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what further steps he is taking to deal with the problem of firearms-related crime. [13872]

Mr. Maclean

Our aim is to cut the supply of guns used in crime and to ensure that the courts have adequate powers to deal with those who commit firearms offences. The controls on firearms are already stringent and kept under constant review. The penalties for misuse are substantial. The maximum penalty for carrying a firearm in the furtherance of crime is life imprisonment and the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 increased the maximum penalties for a wide range of other firearms offences. If further legislative measures are considered necessary, the Government will not hesitate to take them.

Local initiatives to detect or prevent armed crime are the responsibility of individual chief officers of police. I understand that the chief constable of Merseyside police has recently launched a high profile campaign to combat the particular threat posed by armed criminals in his force area.