HL Deb 20 May 2004 vol 661 c37WS
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal)

Following the Home Secretary's decision not to further extend the life of the Firearms Consultative Committee, we have been considering how best to establish a forum for consultation and to assist in the current review of legislation. We have decided to establish a broad-based firearms advisory committee with around 21 members to be drawn in equal measure from shooting interests; law enforcement/regulation; and organisations and community groups with an interest in the social consequences of firearms use and misuse.

The committee's terms of reference will be to advise the Home Secretary on the law and policy on firearms, having regard to the need to maintain public safety and prevent criminal misuse and taking into account the interests of legitimate shooters and the efficient, effective administration of controls.

It will be assisted in this task by a technical subcommittee with 12 to 15 members drawn principally from representatives of law enforcement bodies and shooting organisations with knowledge and experience of firearms matters. The sub-committee's terms of reference will be to consider the technical and legal aspects of administering and enforcing firearms controls and to make recommendations to the firearms advisory committee on these and such other matters as may be referred to them.

We will be approaching interested organisations and individuals to seek nominations to serve on one or both committees with a view to appointing members as soon as possible.

The committee will be asked to submit a report of its work after 12 months and copies will be placed in the Library.