House of Commons
Session 1997-98
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Other Bills before Parliament

Firearms (Amendment) Bill
     The Bill extends the class of weapons prohibited by the firearms legislation so as to include small-calibre pistols.
     Clause 1 has the effect of prohibiting small-calibre pistols by removing them from the list of exceptions to the class of handguns prohibited by virtue of section 5(1)(aba) of the Firearms Act 1968 ("the 1968 Act"). Paragraph (aba) is inserted into section 5(1) by section 1(2) of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 ("the 1997 Act").
     Clause 2 deals with various consequential matters.
     Subsection (2) applies section 15 of the 1997 Act (under which the Secretary of State may make arrangements for the surrender of prohibited handguns to the police) to the guns prohibited by clause 1.
     Subsections (3) and (4) apply the compensation provisions of the 1997 Act for prohibited higher-calibre handguns and ancillary equipment to small-calibre pistols and their ancillary equipment. Any person who held small-calibre pistols and ancillary equipment on 14th May 1997 will be eligible for compensation.
     Subsection (5) excludes a compensation scheme relating only to small-calibre pistols or their ancillary equipment from the requirement under section 18 of the 1997 Act for approval under the affirmative procedure. Such a scheme will be laid before Parliament after being made.
     Subsection (6) applies, in relation to the provisions of the Bill, the power in section 51 of the 1997 Act to make transitional and consequential provision.
     Subsection (7) gives effect to the consequential repeals in the Schedule.
     Clause 3 contains the short title and provisions as to commencement and extent.
 Financial effects of the Bill
     The effect of the Bill on public expenditure will depend largely upon the total amount of compensation that is paid out to firearm owners and registered dealers. All costs are given at current prices.
     It is expected that compensation at market value will be paid for some 40,000 small-calibre pistols held by individuals and in dealers' stocks. It is estimated that the amount of compensation to be paid in respect of small-calibre pistols will total about £12 million.
     In addition, there will be payments for ancillary equipment designed or adapted for use with those pistols. These will total about £19 million.
     Compensation payments are likely to start from September 1997 and will fall partly in this financial year but mostly in 1998/99.
 Effect of the Bill on public service manpower
     No further staff will be needed to handle the compensation claims over and above those already required for implementing the compensation arrangements for owners of the higher-calibre handguns that are prohibited by the 1997 Act.
 Business compliance cost assessment
     The Bill will affect adversely dealers who have a trade in small-calibre pistols and businesses which provide ammunition and equipment for such pistols. Gun clubs which cater solely or mainly for target pistol shooting will probably have to close.




© Parliamentary copyright 1997
Prepared 22 May 1997