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Gun Licences Bill—Bill 134

Volume 203: debated on Thursday 21 July 1870

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( Mr. Dodson, Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Stansfeld)


Bill, as amended, considered.

moved the omission in Clause 7, line 21, after "thereof," of the words "or upon lands in the occupation of the owner of the gun."

Amendment proposed, in page 2, line 21, to leave out the words "or upon lands in the occupation of the owner of the gun."—( Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson.)

protested against omitting these words, which were essential to the fair protection of small farmers, in whose case it was more necessary that they should carry a gun on their own lands, and he would feel compelled to take the sense of the House on the point.

said, the reason why the hon. Baronet wished to reverse the decision at which the House arrived on a previous occasion, was because the words would enable persons in easy means to shoot other than game, over large tracts of land, without any licence.

believed the Bill to be a most objectionable one, observing that the number of exemptions had been extended from two to six since the Bill had been introduced, and that other exemptions would have to be made. How, for instance, he should like to know, was it proposed to deal with a man who had changed his residence? He would certainly support in a Division his hon. Friend (Mr. C. S. Read).

said, he thought that instead of dividing now, it would be better to take the opinion of the House on the Amendment of which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had given Notice.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

The House divided:—Ayes 34; Noes 123: Majority 89.

moved, in Clause 7, sub-section 2, line 34, after "constable," to insert "owner or occupier or any person having a licence under this Act." Under the existing law only a police- constable or a revenue officer could make such a demand.

was willing to confer such a power on owners and occupiers, but not on persons having a licence.

Amendment agreed, to.

moved, in Clause 7, after line 36, insert—

"4. By the occupier of any lands which are cultivated solely by his own labour using or carrying a gun for the purpose only of scaring birds or of killing vermin on such lands, or by any person using or carrying a gun for the purpose only of scaring birds or of killing vermin on any lands by order of the occupier thereof, who shall have in force a licence or certificate to kill game or a licence under this Act.
"5. By any gunsmith or his servant carrying a gun in the ordinary course of the trade of a gunsmith, or using a gun by way of testing or regulating its strength or quality in a place specially set apart for the purpose.
"6. By any person carrying a gun in the ordinary course of his trade or business as a common carrier."

Motion agreed to.

gave Notice that he would move on the third reading that these exceptions be extended to those acting by the order of the persons excepted from the tax.

, in moving that this Bill do not extend to Scotland, protested against any such additional tax being imposed on the Scotch agriculturists; none could be more unpopular with the middle and lower classes of that country. This Bill, as originally proposed, was a substitute for the game licence; but that being given up, it was simply an additional burden upon the industrious tenantry, with a string of exemptions, affording a fertile source of dispute, and having the still more lamentable effect of increasing that unhappy feeling which now existed in Scotland on the subject of the Game Laws, and which the speech delivered yesterday by the Lord Advocate was calculated so much to embitter. This was a tax to which the great mass of the people in Scotland would not quietly submit; and he told the Prime Minister that, highly and deservedly as his great public services were appreciated in Scotland, the manner in which its interests were now being treated was causing there a feeling of alienation from his Govern ment and general discontent throughout the country.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Bill to be read the third time Tomorrow, at Two of the clock.