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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 Mr Robin Corbett Mr Robin Corbett Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 8:30 pm, 23rd May 1988

I am grateful for much of what the Minister has said to clarify these matters. However, he did not comment on the likely level of charges. I assume from what he has said that consultations have taken place with the proof houses. That must follow from what he said about the engravings on three separate parts of the weapon. Therefore, the proof houses will have had the opportunity to say how much that would cost. Perhaps the Minister could elaborate on that.

The hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Sir E. Griffiths) raised an important point as to whether, and if so how, the police have been consulted over the marks to ensure that they are readily identifiable.

It follows from what the Minister said that, in his words, any gunsmith can carry out the deactivation work. However, the weapon will then have to go to the proof house for it to authorise that the work has been carried out properly. What happens if and when that weapon arrives at the Birmingham proof house? I must declare an interest and say that I hope that most of the weapons will go to Birmingham rather than elsewhere.

What will happen if the proof house believes that the quality or standard of engraving is inferior and is not satisfied that it has been carried out properly? Will it improve the engraving to the acceptable standard that it is authorised to provide? Will the weapon have to go through the mail or Red Star back to the gunsmith who originally carried out the work? If the work is to be carried out by the proof house, presumably it would have to contact the weapon's owner and state that it is not satisfied and inform the owner that it can re-do the work to the standard which the Secretary of State authorises it to reach, but that will cost the owner a certain sum. It would be for the convenience of the House if the Minister could answer those practical points about the engraving marks.