Firearm Certificates

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7 May 1981.

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Photo of Mr John Farr Mr John Farr , Harborough 12:00, 7 May 1981

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the total of firearm certificates issued in each of the last three years.

Photo of Sir Patrick Mayhew Sir Patrick Mayhew , Royal Tunbridge Wells

Annual statistics of firearm certificates issued and renewed by chief officers of police are not collected centrally, but on 31 December 1979 169,590 firearm certificates were in force in England and Wales.

Photo of Mr John Farr Mr John Farr , Harborough

Will my hon. and learned Friend accept that there has been a worrying decline in the number of firearm certificates? As it is in the national interest that people should be encouraged to use rifles for recreational purposes, can he look into the reasons for that decline and see if something can be done?

Photo of Sir Patrick Mayhew Sir Patrick Mayhew , Royal Tunbridge Wells

My hon. Friend, who takes great interest in that matter, is right in saying that there has been a decline. There was a decline from about 191,000 in 1971 to 169,500 in 1979. On the other hand, the number of shotgun certificates over the same period has risen from 715,000 to 783,000. I cannot promise to undertake an inquiry on why the numbers in the first category have fallen, but no doubt my hon. Friend has his own suggestions, which I shall be interested to hear.