Select Committee on Home Affairs Second Report


THE STRUCTURE OF FIREARMS LICENSING

57. The regime introduced under the Firearms Act 1968 established four basic tiers of firearms control, which are listed here in descending order of severity:

      (a)  "section 5 controls": weapons prohibited for private possession (for example, handguns and automatic weapons), unless held under the express authority of the Secretary of State;

      (b)  "section 1 controls": the default level of control for firearms not otherwise provided for in legislation (in practice, the provision covering most categories of firearm in general use, e.g. rifles and high-powered air weapons, together with certain types of multi-shot shotgun);

      (c)  "section 2 controls": controls on specific types of shotgun (long-barrelled shotguns with no magazine or a non-detachable magazine capable of holding no more than two cartridges);[115]

      (d)  controls over low-powered air weapons exempted from the licensing regime under the Dangerous Air Weapons Rules 1969.

58. While the successive amendments made to the Firearms Act 1968[116] have altered the classification of various types of firearm, the basic regime of controls remains as then established. However, the accretions to the system have served to increase its complexity. There are separate licensing and certification regimes for shotguns and for other types of permitted firearm: different criteria of fitness are applicable, and different procedures have to be followed. In addition, air weapons below a certain power level are exempt from all licensing and certification requirements, although their use is still governed by some statutory restrictions.

59. Witnesses from shooting organisations and the police both called for the present law on firearms to be rationalised and simplified. Police forces would like the present regime to be easier to administer: firearms users would like the law to be simpler to understand.[117]

60. We believe that the present control structure ought to be simplified, in the interests of firearms users and firearms licensing bodies alike. As we have stated above, consideration of the lethal potential of any firearm ought to be the starting-point for a system of firearms control. Such a system ought also to be as simple as possible to understand, and should be seen to be fairly and consistently administered. It should not, however, place any undue restriction on the responsible sportsman or occupational firearms user. We analyse the main features of the present structure below.

"SECTION 1 CONTROLS": THE FIREARM CERTIFICATE

61. Section 1 of the Firearms Act 1968 created what the Home Office has termed "a 'default' category for those firearms not otherwise mentioned in legislation".[118] Those firearms considered particularly dangerous are subject to the controls laid out in section 5 of the 1968 Act—their possession and use is prohibited save by express authority of the Secretary of State. For instance, the Firearms (Amendment) Acts 1997 subjected virtually all handguns to section 5 controls. On the other hand, firearms considered less dangerous—such as shotguns and low-powered air weapons—are subject to lighter controls.


62. The conditions on the grant of the firearm certificate are considered to be fairly stringent: indeed, some witnesses from shooting organisations considered them over-restrictive and hoped

that they might in due course be loosened.[119] The firearm certificate grants authority to possess certain specified section 1 firearms: the authority must be periodically renewed (presently once every five years). For the certificate to be granted the issuing chief constable has to be satisfied in three respects:

      (a)  that the applicant is fit to be entrusted with a firearm, and is not a person prohibited from possessing a section 1 firearm;

      (b)  that the applicant has good reason for possessing, purchasing or acquiring the specific firearm and ammunition for which the application is made;

      (c)  that the applicant can be permitted to have the firearm or ammunition in his possession without danger to the public safety or to the peace.[120]

The certificate specifies each weapon which the applicant is entitled to purchase or possess, and further conditions on the holding of any firearm (such as a specification of the land on which the firearm is to be used, or conditions under which the firearm may be stored) may be added at the issuing force's discretion. The authority of a firearm certificate is also required for the purchase or possession of component parts of firearms and for ammunition. The conditions of the certificate—such as the number or type of firearms, or specific conditions of use—may be varied on application and on payment of a fee.[121]

63. The grounds for revocation or partial revocation of a firearm certificate are satisfied if the chief constable has reason to believe either:

      (a)  that the certificate holder "is of intemperate habits or unsound mind or otherwise unfitted to be entrusted with a firearm"; or

      (b)  that the certificate holder can no longer be permitted to hold the firearms or ammunition to which the certificate relates without danger to public safety or the peace; or

      (c)  that the certificate holder is prohibited from possessing a firearm;

      (d)  that the certificate holder no longer has good reason to possess the firearm or ammunition.[122]

64. In our view, the range of firearms which the firearm certificate covers makes it essential that these controls are applied: a responsible chief constable must be able to satisfy himself that a firearm is being used for the purpose for which it is intended. For instance, certain calibres of rifle are considered too powerful for the despatch of vermin, while certain categories are considered inadequate for this task (for instance, if they are judged to be insufficiently accurate or well-sighted to effect a clean kill). We believe that the controls applied to section 1 firearms are stringent, and, if fairly and consistently applied, they make adequate and justifiable provision for their safe use.

"SECTION 2 CONTROLS": THE SHOTGUN CERTIFICATE

65. The conditions applied for the grant of a shotgun certificate are less stringent than those for the grant of a firearm certificate. The applicant for a certificate is required to state, rather than to demonstrate, the reason for which the certificate is required. Although he is required to notify the police upon the acquisition of further shotguns, he is not obliged to obtain permission: any number of shotguns may be held on a single certificate. The certificate covers only the shotgun: shotgun components and ammunition may be held without certificate. Chief constables do not have the power to specify the conditions under which the shotgun may be used. In order for the certificate to be granted the chief constable must satisfy himself that the following conditions are met:

The Act specifies particular good reasons for possession of a shotgun: if these are stated, the chief constable is bound to grant a certificate if all other conditions are satisfied. They are:

  • use for sporting or for competition purposes;
  • use for shooting vermin.[124]

It is for the chief constable to demonstrate that the applicant has no good reason. In addition, the chief constable may not refuse a shotgun certificate application or renewal merely because he has reason to believe that the applicant has not used, or will not use, the shotgun or shotguns in question.

66. The grounds on which a shotgun certificate may be revoked are different from those for the revocation of a firearm certificate. The grounds for revocation of a shotgun certificate are satisfied if the chief constable is satisfied either

      (a)  that the certificate holder is prohibited from possessing a shotgun; or

      (b)  that the certificate holder cannot be permitted to possess a shotgun without danger to public safety or the peace.[125]

67. These conditions differ substantially from those imposed on section 1 firearms. They do not impose any territorial restrictions on where the shotgun owner may shoot, and they allow several shotguns to be held on a single certificate. There are considerably more shotgun certificates than firearm certificates on issue. At 31 December 1998, the latest date for which figures are available, 627,600 shotgun certificates were on issue, covering 1,343,400 weapons; at the same date there were 131,900 firearm certificates on issue, authorising the possession of 295,100 weapons.[126]


68. While the essential test of public safety remains the same under both regimes, we note that the principal differences between the regimes are:

      (a)  Fitness. To grant a firearm certificate, the chief constable must be satisfied that an applicant is fit to be entrusted with a firearm: if he has reason to believe that a holder has become "unfitted" to be entrusted with a firearm, the certificate may be revoked. No such test applies to a shotgun certificate applicant.

      (b)  Good reason. The chief constable must be satisfied that an applicant for a firearm certificate has good reason for having a firearm and ammunition, and may revoke it if he no longer has reason to believe that the holder has good reason. He may only refuse an application for a shotgun certificate if he is satisfied that the applicant has no good reason for possessing a shotgun (ammunition is not taken into consideration). He cannot subsequently revoke a shotgun certificate if there is no longer a good reason for possession. In short, the onus is on an applicant for a firearm certificate to demonstrate a good reason, while the onus is on the police to demonstrate that an applicant for a shotgun certificate has no good reason.

      (c)  Frequency of use (subsidiary to good reason). The chief constable may refuse a firearm certificate because he has reason to believe the firearm will not be used, or has not been used regularly enough to demonstrate good reason; frequency of use is no ground for refusing or revoking a shotgun certificate.

Shotguns in urban areas

69. Many witnesses drew attention to the comments of Chris Mullin MP during the Second Reading of the Firearms (Amendment) Bill in November 1996:

  The use of shotguns in rural areas is well understood, for example for the control of vermin: the Home Office also pointed out the extra revenue which farmers may gain from leasing shooting rights over their land, and the environmental benefits of husbanding land for the keeping of game.[128] Shotguns are also extensively used in clay pigeon shooting.[129] The reasons for an urban resident to keep a shotgun are less well understood. The potential concerns appear substantial: a shotgun owner in an urban area can amass as many shotguns as a country dweller, and has to show no good reason for doing so.

70. Strong representations were made to us by individuals who live in urban areas and who use shotguns either occupationally or for recreational purposes. To prevent urban residents from owning shotguns principally by reason of the location of their dwelling would be a difficult measure to enforce in statute: the Home Office pointed out that "urban areas" were not defined in law.[130] ACPO stated that a prohibition on the ownership of shotguns in urban areas would be "extremely difficult, if not impossible, to police": it did not believe that any particular problem was posed by urban-based certificate holders travelling into the country to shoot.[131] Similarly, the Scottish police associations believed "there may be little or no benefit in restricting storage of shotguns in urban areas as these certificate holders travel outwith cities and towns to participate in the sport".[132] The British Shooting Sports Council believed that any attempt to restrict the issue of a certificate on the grounds of place of residence would be "an untenable invasion of personal rights".[133]

71. Moreover, the Home Office told us that it was not aware of particular problems of shotgun abuse in urban areas as distinct from rural areas. They said that the rates of shotgun theft in urban areas were not overall "substantially higher".[134] Some Home Office figures appeared to show evidence of a correlation between numbers of legally held shotguns and the theft of shotguns. However, these figures, collated by police force area for 1997/98, provide too small a sample to be reliable.[135] Lord Kimball, a past Chairman of the Firearms Consultative Committee, told us that "the misuse of shotguns can best be curtailed by improved security by those who hold legal weapons. Secure storage at all times is part of the conditions on all certificates".[136] The possession of shotguns in urban areas does not appear to pose a particular problem, and we accept that urban dwellers should be as able as rural dwellers to hold a shotgun certificate. However, we believe that it is vital that weapons are kept securely, whatever their location. Chief constables of all force areas should be able to satisfy themselves that the shotguns licensed under their authority are being securely kept, especially where they believe there is an increased risk of theft.

LOW-POWERED AIR WEAPONS

72. Low-powered air weapons—those with power levels above 1 ft/lb, but below 12 ft/lb (for air rifles) and 6 ft/lb (for air pistols)—are not included within the licensing and certification regime.[137] Controls over these weapons consist of a number of statutory prohibitions on the place where one can carry or use such a weapon: these were set out for us in a Home Office memorandum.[138] No reliable figures exist for the numbers of such weapons in private hands, though police forces have taken four million to be a realistic estimate.[139]

73. We have already made clear our preference for a system of firearms control which is consistent, simple to understand and easy to administer. We have also stressed that such a system should be based on the lethal potential of a firearm, rather than its mechanism. We discuss the problems stemming from the misuse of air weapons, and further controls which might be placed on their use, at greater length below.

PROPOSALS FOR REFORM

74. The weight of representations made to us on the subject of the separate licensing regimes for shotguns and for section 1 firearms has been considerable. The Firearms Act 1968 established in a single piece of legislation the system of separate treatment for shotguns and for other permitted firearms. The Home Office briefly outlined the history of these developments: the failure of the Firearms Act 1920 to cover sporting shotguns, the development of a separate system of shotgun licensing in the 1960s to counter armed crime, the consolidation of these measures into the Firearms Act 1968, and the restrictions to the shotgun control regime made by the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988.

75. The police associations and the Gun Control Network were strong advocates of the abolition of the separate shotgun licence and the extension of section 1 controls to all shotguns. Police concerns about the dual licensing system centred upon the administrative inconvenience of dealing with two separate licensing regimes; the significantly lighter controls which are placed upon shotgun ownership; and the burden placed on the police to demonstrate that a shotgun certificate holder was a danger to public safety and the peace. A holder of both forms of licence, whom a chief constable deemed to be unfit to possess firearms, could have both certificates revoked: however, it was demonstrated to us that an appeal against both revocations could result in the appeal against the shotgun certificate being allowed, while at the same time the revocation of the firearm certificate might be upheld. Mr Greenwood could not think of one case where this had happened, but we were provided with a recent example.[140] The Home Office set out the arguments for and against the extension of section 1 controls to cover shotguns: making the case for a single certificate, it noted that shotguns are just as lethal at close range as other firearms, a point also made by the Police Federation, and that it was logical to subject them to the same levels of control as other firearms.[141]

76. Representatives of shooting organisations, and a great many individual shooters who made submissions, believed that the present regime of controls over shotguns was entirely adequate for the purpose. The British Association for Shooting and Conservation argued that the small number of annual refusals to grant shotgun certificates (on average less than one per cent annually) indicated that unsuitable people were deterred from making applications.[142] The Home Office noted that the use of shotguns in crime had halved between 1987 and 1997, while the total number of firearms offences had increased by one-third over the same period and the use of handguns in crime had increased by 75 %.[143] The numbers of shotguns misappropriated also dropped between 1987 and 1997, in part, the Government believes, because of the requirement for the safe storage of shotguns introduced by the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988.[144] All this may indicate that, while it is still used in some criminal offences, the shotgun does not have the attraction it once did for the armed criminal who now chooses to use different weapons.

77. Shotgun owners were keen not to be subjected to section 1 licensing controls for a number of reasons. It was argued that the present level of controls over shotguns better reflected the different requirements of the shotgun owner.[145] The "good reason" requirement which is applied to the grant of a firearm certificate would, it was argued, be an over-restrictive condition to apply to owners of shotguns, many of whom possessed several shotguns for a variety of specific reasons, either sporting or occupational.[146] Many firearms certificates for particular weapons are granted only after an inspection and a specification of the land over which they are to be fired: it was argued that to apply this requirement to shotgun owners would be unreasonable and damaging.[147]

78. We understand the difficulties which would arise if farmers and sportsmen had territorial conditions placed on their use of shotguns. However, we also believe that the Countryside and Rights of Way Bill, and its promised right-to-roam provisions, will have considerable implications for the use of shotguns in the countryside.[148] The Minister indicated that in principle he did not find it unreasonable "that a shotgun can only be used in certain areas", and that he did not rule out the possibility of regulating where a shotgun should be used.[149]

79. Some witnesses believed that the tests and conditions associated with the shotgun certificate were sufficient and appropriate for the licensing of all firearms. The British Association for Shooting and Conservation thought that, in making an overall assessment of the suitability of the individual to own firearms of a particular class, the shotgun certificate represented "the best model of licensing practice".[150] The British Shooting Sports Council, which believes the present controls over shotguns are sufficient, pointed out that to subject all shotgun certificate holders to section 1 controls would create a serious additional workload for the police without contributing to public safety.[151] The Scottish Countryside Alliance, among others, went further in recommending that firearms and shotguns be held on a single certificate to which the conditions of the present shotgun certificate alone would apply.[152]

80. The Secretary of State asked the Firearms Consultative Committee to look at the issue of a single firearm certificate in the course of its work programme for 1998-99. The FCC considered two possible approaches: the inclusion of section 2 shotguns within the section 1 firearm regime, and the creation of a new single certificate for shotguns and firearms, without all the restrictions presently imposed on section 1 firearms. It noted that a number of firearms presently under section 1 controls, such as rifles, muzzle-loading pistols and revolvers, and long-barrelled repeating shotguns, "had no significant track record of misuse", implying that controls on them might be relaxed. It also noted the possible damage which further restrictions on shotguns might cause for those working in the countryside and to the rural economy in general.[153] The FCC was unable to reach a conclusion on the issue during 1998-99, but hoped to be able to return to it during the course of this year.

81. The present system is complex and unwieldy. We are concerned both by the comparatively light levels of control over the possession of shotguns and with the apparently anomalous distinction between the reasons for the grant, renewal or revocation of a firearm and a shotgun certificate, when both classes of weapon may be lethal in the wrong hands.

82. The overall complexity of the present licensing system in part reflects the development of different patterns of usage of particular types of firearm. In considering the levels of control which are presently exercised over the possession of shotguns and other firearms, we looked at the separate components of the licensing system: the licensing of the person and the licensing of the firearm. This has enabled us to make a better assessment of any specific deficiencies in the system which is at present in force.

LICENSING THE PERSON

83. A number of witnesses believed that the present licensing system concentrated too much on the firearm and not enough on the person, arguing that an individual who was judged fit to possess firearms could reasonably be trusted with any class of firearm. We note that, following Lord Cullen's recommendations, the Government has adopted measures "to ensure that the licensing system identifies the suitability of the person to hold firearms, rather than the firearms themselves".[154] The Firearms Rules 1998[155] include a requirement for an applicant for a firearm certificate to provide two character referees, who may not be police officers, police employees, or firearms dealers. Each referee must complete a confidential questionnaire and state that they know no reason why the applicant should not be permitted to possess a firearm. The applicant for a certificate is also required to give details of a general practitioner and to allow the police to seek factual details of the applicant's medical history, if there is any doubt over the applicant's physical or mental health which might affect fitness to hold firearms.

84. The rules relating to countersignatories of shotgun certificates have not, however, been changed: applicants for a shotgun certificate are required to provide a signed statement by "a member of Parliament, justice of the peace, minister of religion, doctor, lawyer, established civil servant, bank officer or person of similar standing" that he knows of no reason why the applicant should not possess a firearm. Countersignatories are not required to complete a questionnaire. We welcome the Government's moves towards a licensing system which concentrates on identifying the suitability of a person to hold firearms. We note, however, that the requirement to provide two detailed character references has not yet been extended to the shotgun licensing system. We recommend that the system of countersignatures on applications for shotgun certificates be replaced by a requirement to provide two character references.

85. The responsibility for the safe and appropriate use and storage of a firearm rests with the certificate holder, and we believe that the principal duty of a chief constable, when issuing a certificate, is to satisfy himself that the certificate holder is a fit person to possess firearms. To fulfil this duty it is possible that more rigorous criteria may have to be applied. At present a test of fitness is not applied to the grant of a shotgun certificate. We believe that it should be. We have received no evidence to indicate that this condition would have a particularly adverse impact on present holders of shotgun certificates. The test of fitness is, we believe, the most appropriate both to ensure public safety and to address the suitability of the individual.[156] We believe that the criteria for assessing of the fitness of an individual to possess any licensed firearm should be identical, regardless of the class of firearm concerned. This test of fitness ought to be the one which presently applies to the possession of section 1 firearms, i.e.

      (a)  that an individual is fit to be entrusted with a firearm, and is not a person prohibited from possessing a section 1 firearm;

      (b)  that an individual can be permitted to have the firearm or ammunition in his possession without danger to the public safety or to the peace.

We neither believe nor intend that this should have any adverse impact on responsible firearm and shotgun users who presently hold shotgun certificates.

86. Similarly, the criteria for revocation of firearm and shotgun certificates are inconsistent. Concentrating again on the test of fitness, we believe that this ought also to be made grounds for revocation of a shotgun certificate. We believe that the law should be amended to give a chief constable the power (subject to appeal to the court, as at present) to revoke a shotgun certificate if he believes the certificate holder is "is of intemperate habits or unsound mind or otherwise unfitted to be entrusted" with a shotgun.

LICENSING THE FIREARM

87. Some witnesses who argued for the shift towards a licensing system based on individual fitness also believed that the present controls on the weapons themselves ought to be dropped as a result: the Sportsman's Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland believed that if an adequate fitness test were established, "counting cartridges and guns" would be unnecessary.[157] The National Farmers Union believed that "current procedures, which appear irrelevant to the matter of public safety, merely impose an unacceptably high level of bureaucracy on farmers".[158] However, we are not persuaded of this approach. At the very least, notification to the police of acquisitions and transfers of weapons ought to be mandatory: a system of firearms control cannot function adequately if no accurate assessment can be made of the quantities of weapons in private hands. We therefore believe that the present levels of control should be maintained. We recommend that the notification to the licensing authority by the licensee of all purchases, sales and transfers of weapons covered by a firearm or a shotgun certificate ought to remain mandatory.

88. While we have set out above our contention that the balance of the licensing system ought to be moved further towards an assessment of the fitness of the individual, we believe that an oversight should be maintained over the weapons which that individual is authorised to possess. Some organisations have indicated that certain classes of section 1 firearm are rarely used in crime, and might usefully have their section 1 restrictions relaxed. This contention, however, ignores an important aspect of section 1 controls, which we support, namely the need of the licensing officer to ensure that a firearm is adequate for the task for which it is intended.

89. Taking into account the need to protect public safety, Mr Clarke indicated that he was seriously considering police proposals that a shotgun certificate holder ought to be obliged to show "good reason" for possessing a shotgun, rather than requiring a chief constable to demonstrate the opposite. He acknowledged that the "good reason" could be defined in a manner to allow the present range of lawful shotgun-related pursuits to proceed:

    "it would be necessary to define that good reason in a way that was widened generally in character so that people could pursue legitimate activity in a perfectly reasonable way".[159]

90. We recommend that applicants for shotgun licences should be required to show that they have a good reason to possess shotguns. We do not expect that this will impose a great burden on genuine and responsible occupational and recreational shotgun users: nor do we believe that it should.

91. Mr Clarke also believed that there might be a case for the licensing of individual shotguns, rather than the present right to hold an unrestricted number of shotguns on a shotgun licence. This would allow the police to restrict any "unwarranted proliferation" of shotguns in private hands. However, this is a proposal which shooting organisations have strongly resisted. We accept the need for some shotgun owners to have several shotguns for different types of shooting, and we therefore feel that to require licences for every gun might be over-restrictive. However, we also recognise the potential threat to public safety from large collections of shotguns if those collections are not sufficiently well safeguarded.

92. We have referred above (at paragraph 78) to the territorial conditions which can be applied to section 1 firearms. When licensing individual section 1 firearms, the police presently have the power to inspect and to specify the land over which a particular firearm is to be used. This appears to be a sensible arrangement to apply to high-powered firearms which can be lethal at long distances. It is not necessarily a sensible condition to apply to the type of shotgun which may be held on a shotgun certificate: such shotguns are not lethal at long distances. We believe that to impose specific territorial conditions on the use of shotguns will place an unreasonable burden on their occupational and sporting use. We do not believe that such conditions should be applied to the licensing of shotguns.

93. We do not believe that the licensing (as opposed to the registration) of individual shotguns is in principle desirable. Nor do we think that a statutory upper limit ought to be placed on the number of shotguns which may be held on one certificate. Equally, we do not see why a shotgun owner should be able to amass large numbers of shotguns with no effective supervision. We recommend that a shotgun owner should be required to state at the time of grant or renewal of his certificate the maximum number of firearms he wishes to hold over the period of the certificate's validity. This number may be more than the number of shotguns he holds at the time of application. However, the chief constable must be satisfied that the applicant has good reason to possess the stated number of shotguns, and is able to meet the security conditions for their safe storage. The number of shotguns specified on the certificate should be variable upon application.

A REFORMED LICENSING STRUCTURE

94. The reforms to the present licensing system which we have recommended will create a new single standard for the licensing of persons to possess firearms. We believe that this is necessary in the interests of public safety and of consistency across the licensing system. Where the licensing of particular firearms is concerned, although we believe that public safety requires some oversight of the number of shotguns one individual may possess on a single certificate, we recognise that it would be over-restrictive to subject shotguns to the same overall level of control as section 1 firearms.

95. Both the Government and the Firearms Consultative Committee have acknowledged that this is a complex area, and we hope that they will re-examine it in the light of our recommendations. We hope that it will be possible to find an acceptable balance between the need to safeguard the public and the right of the individual to participate in legitimate shooting activities.


115   Appendix 1, section C. Back

116   i.e. the Firearms (Amendment) Acts 1988, 1992, 1994, 1997 and 1997 (No. 2). Back

117   See, for example, Appendix 20, section 8 (British Association for Shooting and Conservation) and Appendix 26, para. 42 (Shooting Sports Trust). Back

118   Appendix 1, section E. Back

119   See, for example, Appendix 13 and Appendix 20. Back

120   Firearms Act 1968, s. 27, as amended by Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997, s. 38. Back

121   No fee is generally charged for "one for one" variations, or for variations at the time of a renewal. The present scale of firearm certificate fees is set out at paragraph 207 below. Back

122   Firearms Act 1968 s. 30. Back

123   Firearms Act 1968, s. 28, as amended by Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988, s. 3. Back

124   Ibid. Back

125   Firearms Act 1968, s. 30, as amended by Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997, s. 40. Back

126   Home Office Statistical Bulletin 22/99, tables B and A. The number of firearms covered by certificates on issue does not necessarily indicate those possessed, particularly as owners of handguns surrendered as a result of the 1997 Acts were allowed "one for one" variations of their firearm licences. Back

127   HC Deb, 12 November 1996, col. 218. Back

128   Appendix 1, section C. Back

129   Appendix 22. Back

130   Appendix 1, section C. Back

131   Appendix 1, section B. Back

132   Appendix 4. Back

133   Appendix 12, para 8.15. Back

134   Appendix 1, section C. Back

135   Ibid.: see also Annex A for a breakdown of shotgun and air weapon offences by police force area. Back

136   Appendix 54. The Home Office issued revised and comprehensive guidance on firearm security in March 2000. Back

137   Air rifles above 12 ft/lb are classed as section 1 firearms: air pistols above 6 ft/lb are regarded as prohibited handguns. Back

138   Appendix 60. Back

139   Appendix 1, section B. Back

140   Appeal of John David Morris against revocation of firearm and shotgun certificates, heard at Cardiff Crown Court on 27 April 1999: Morris's appeal against revocation of the firearm licence was dismissed, but his appeal against the revocation of the shotgun certificate was upheld.  Back

141   Appendix 1, Section C and Appendix 6. Back

142   Appendix 20, para 3.6. Back

143   Appendix 1, section C. Back

144   Appendix 1, section C. Back

145   A good example was given by the National Association of Re-enactment Societies (Appendix 40). Back

146   For instance, Appendix 48 (Admiral of the Fleet Sir Benjamin Bathurst). Back

147   Q 217 (Mr Oliver-Bellasis, NFU). Back

148   The Bill (Bill 78) was introduced on 3 March 2000 and received its Second Reading on 21 March 2000. Back

149   QQ 462-463. Back

150   Appendix 20, para 3.13. Back

151   Appendix 12, para 6.11. Back

152   Appendix 34. Back

153   FCC Tenth Report, p. 26. Back

154   Appendix 1, section E Cullen Report, para. 8.81. Back

155   S. I., 1998, No. 1941. Back

156   The firearm certificate criteria were amended by the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 to take the Cullen recommendations into account: the shotgun certificate conditions were not. Back

157   Appendix 27, section iv. Back

158   Appendix 13, para 2.3. Back

159   QQ 456, 459. Back


 
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