Air Rifles

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:11 pm on 9th October 2017.

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Photo of Nick Hurd Nick Hurd The Minister of State, Home Department 10:11 pm, 9th October 2017

There is no point in having a consultation if it does not include the opinions of those with a voice and an educated view, so I give the hon. Gentleman that assurance. I also provide the assurance that I will be meeting members of Benjamin Wragge’s family later this year. I will listen carefully to their views, as I will to those of their Member of Parliament, my hon. Friend Jo Churchill, who has written to me on the matter.

I intend to look carefully at the existing controls on air weapons, including how best to ensure that such weapons are stored safely and securely, so that they do not get into the hands of children. The hon. Member for Bristol South suggested that features such as trigger locks should be used, or that air weapons should be required to be stored in a locked cabinet. Those issues need to be looked at in some detail.

I should make it clear to the House that, although I think that a review of air weapon regulation is important and timely, we will do so against the background of existing controls that are, by all international comparisons, very robust and of a long-term decline in the number of crimes involving air weapons. For the record, I will set out some of the existing controls. First, the law recognises that some air weapons are more dangerous than others. In particular, only lower-powered air weapons can be held without a licence. More dangerous air weapons need to be licensed by the police. In addition, I believe that we have robust controls to prevent unauthorised access.