Airguns (Young Persons)

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th November 1960.

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Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Chigwell 12:00 am, 24th November 1960

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has recently received about, and what consideration he has lately given to, the amendment of the law, or other action, to limit the use of airguns by juveniles.

Photo of Mr Tom Iremonger Mr Tom Iremonger , Ilford North

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many accidents due to airguns discharged by boys under 17 years of age were reported to the police in 1938, and in 1956, 1957, 1958, and 1959, respectively; what has been the outcome of his discussions with representative chief officers of police on the best way of dealing with the problem; and whether he now intends to introduce legislation on the subject.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

My right hon. Friend's attention has been drawn to a number of cases in which injury or damage has resulted from the use of airguns by young persons. The number of cases reported to the police in England and Wales of personal injury from airguns fired by persons under the age of 17 was 501 in 1956, 648 in 1957, 719 in 1958 and 738 in 1959. I regret that the corresponding figure for 1938 is not available. A review of the working of the existing law has been undertaken, and many suggestions for improvement have been considered. There will no doubt be an opportunity of discussing the matter during the proceedings on the Bill which has been introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Maldon (Mr. B. Harrison).

Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Chigwell

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that many of my constituents will be very grateful that this review is taking place, because there have been a number of terrible accidents, including the blinding of a small girl, as a result of the law being what it is? Is any consideration being given to the representations of the National Farmers' Union on this subject?

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

Yes, Sir. The representations by the National Farmers' Union were considered at the time of this review, and no doubt the factors which my hon. Friend has mentioned can be considered when the Private Member's Bill is under consideration.