Clause 30 - Manufacture, import and sale of realistic imitation firearms

Part of Violent Crime Reduction Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:30 pm on 25th October 2005.

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Photo of Lynne Featherstone Lynne Featherstone Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 12:30 pm, 25th October 2005

What the Government are trying to do is valid, and I support it. The amendments were late, but better late than never. They are important because they protect people who need protection. Having served on the Metropolitan police authority and visited SO19 I have some experience of imitation firearms. I well remember walking into a room in which there were pairs of guns, one of each pair being imitation and the other real. There was no way of distinguishing between them other than by lifting them up, when the weight and the feel of the material was different. That is what the Government are trying to tackle.

Will the Minister clarify a point? My hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Dorset and North Poole (Annette Brooke) wrote to the right hon. Lady about one of her constituents and received a reply telling her that

''The Bill looks to ban the importation, manufacture and sale of realistic imitation firearms. It does not look to ban their possession and legitimate use.''

I wonder if the Minister will define their legitimate use. Will she also clarify—she has already mentioned military vehicles—that military vehicle owners will be able to exhibit their vehicles as they always have, with deactivated weapons on display?