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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

That is the necessary consequence of new clause 3.

New clause 3 prevents only downward conversion of section 5 guns and section 1 guns with a barrel length of less than 24 in. What is not prohibited is lawful and therefore the position is as I stated. If my hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries has a Lee Enfield rifle which he wants to turn into a shotgun taking a ·410 cartridge, he can lawfully do that and hold that gun on a section 2 certificate, not a section 1 certificate.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bury St. Edmunds raised a perfectly proper and interesting point about resleeving. Any gunsmith can lawfully carry out the process of resleeving as a result of section 4(2) of the Firearms Act 1968. On the other hand, if the end result is a gun with a barrel length of less than 24 in.—the process of conversion has produced a short-barrelled shotgun—the law in the Firearms Act 1968 survives, although it has been modified, and that gun will be held on a section 1 certificate, if it is held at all.

I hope that hon. Members will believe that I have tried to address the various points that have been raised. I know that there were complaints, particularly from the hon. Member for Birmingham, Erdington (Mr. Corbett), that I did not go into immense detail when I opened the debate. If the House agrees, I would like in the debates in which I introduce Government amendments to deal with them in broad terms to begin with and then meet specific points. I believe that that will be for the convenience of the House.