Air Rifles

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:00 pm on 9th October 2017.

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Photo of Karin Smyth Karin Smyth Labour, Bristol South 10:00 pm, 9th October 2017

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for her intervention and I know from my reading of previous debates that she has done a lot of work on this issue. I shall certainly be asking for more updates on the comparison with Scotland to identify whether that is the right way to go.

Most of the law in England and Wales on air weapons dates from the 1960s and it is time properly to re-examine the legislation to see whether it is fit for the 21st century. When an issue has such a devastating effect on the lives of families with such regularity, I would expect the Government to be considering such action already. It is for the Minister to decide what any review should cover, but at the very least I would expect a detailed consideration of licensing in the light of the change to the law in Scotland; of whether the fitting of trigger locks should be mandatory for all new air weapons sold; and of whether the reasonable precautions requirement on all airgun owners for the safe storage of air weapons and ammunition is adequate. My constituents are also interested in laws governing the registration and transfer of these weapons and would be grateful for an explanation of the current position and any proposed changes.

I am grateful for the opportunity to raise these questions and stress in closing that the purpose of my securing this debate is not to ban air weapons outright. It is about their safe use. I want children and young people in my constituency to be protected from future tragedies like those that have been all too common in recent years. Surely Bristol South’s children deserve the same protection as children living in Scotland.