HC Deb 02 March 2004 vol 418 cc917-8W
Mr. Todd

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are being taken to publicise(a) the need, under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 for existing owners of air weapons and imitation firearms to apply for a firearm certificate before 30 April and (b) the implications of not doing so. [157996]

Caroline Flint

Section 37 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 gives the police the power to arrest someone carrying an air weapon (whether loaded or not) or an imitation firearm in a public place without lawful authority or reasonable excuse. There is no requirement for them to obtain a firearms certificate.

Section 39 brings into force a specific ban on the sale, purchase, transfer, acquisition and manufacture of air guns using a self-contained gas-cartridge system. Existing owners will be able to retain possession provided they obtain a firearms certificate for the gun, and have until 30 April 2004 to do so.

We have publicised these measures through "A Guide to the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003", which was included in the "TOGETHER Campaign Pack" issued on 20 February 2004. Guidance to the police was also issued in Home Office Circular 01/2004, which was sent out on 14 January 2004. Both of these documents and other relevant information are available on the Home Office website at www.homeoffice.gov.uk.

In addition, the Home Office has produced a number of posters and leaflets which explain what people must do if they want to keep any guns they already have which use the self-contained gas cartridge system. These have been sent to all police forces for display and further distribution as they see fit. After discussion with the relevant trade organisations they have also been sent to dealers together with a special sticker to put on tins of air gun pellets as a reminder to their customers.

We are continuing to work with the police and other interested parties with a view to securing further local publicity.

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