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De-Activated Weapons

Part of Orders of the Day — Firearms (Amendment) Bill – in the House of Commons at 8:30 pm on 23rd May 1988.

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Photo of Douglas Hogg Douglas Hogg The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 8:30 pm, 23rd May 1988

Deactivation is the subject of new clause 2. It is perhaps necessary to distinguish the two stages. There is the work of deactivation, which is done by a gunsmith. That is the answer to the question posed by my hon. Friend the Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Sir E. Griffiths). The answer is a gunsmith—any old gunsmith who reckons that he is capable of doing the work of deactivation. That work, before it is effective in taking the gun out of the firearms legislation, must be approved by one of the two proof houses. The proof houses only certify the work: they do not do the work of deactivation.

A number of hon. Members have asked whether we intend to use the reserve power to nominate a number of certifying authorities. The answer is that it depends. The proof houses believe that they are capable of dealing with the volume of likely work. They are anxious to do it. We have no reason to doubt that. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has the reserve power to nominate another certifying person or authority if we find that the proof houses are not capable of doing the work of certification.