Firearms: Licensing

Home Office written question – answered on 22nd January 2015.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the number of illegal firearms.

Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to reduce criminal access to illegal firearms.

Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when her Department last reviewed the effectiveness of Government policy aimed at reducing the number of illegal firearms.

Photo of Lynne Featherstone Lynne Featherstone The Minister of State, Home Department

The UK has some of the toughest gun laws in the world and as a result firearms continue to be used in a small and diminishing proportion of total police recorded crime - 0.2%. Offences involving firearms (excluding air weapons)

recorded by the police have fallen by 39% between year ending June 2010 (7,991 offences) and year ending March 2014 (4,843 offences).

Nevertheless the Government continues to undertake work to reduce the number of firearms and crimes relating to them in the UK. We have recently introduced legislation to:

• increase the maximum sentence for import and export of prohibited firearms from ten years to life imprisonment;

• increase the maximum sentence for the manufacture, sale or transfer and purchase or acquire for sale or transfer illegal firearms from ten years to life imprisonment; and,

• introduce a new offence of possession with intent to supply, with a tough maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

In addition, the Law Commission is taking forward a scoping review of firearms law during 2015.

Following the recent terrorist attacks in Paris we have reviewed our efforts against illegal firearms. As the Home Secretary made clear in her statement on 14 January, we are stepping up our efforts with our international partners to crack

down on the illegal smuggling of weapons across borders.

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