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Volume 888: debated on Friday 21 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what compensation will be paid to owners of firearms who have had the renewal of licence refused; what facilities are provided for the safekeeping and proper care and maintenance of firearms which have been called in; and what measures have been introduced to immobilise firearms with the owners consent which he wishes to keep for sentimental reasons, and where the licence is revoked.

No compensation is paid to owners of firearms who have had the renewal of licence refused. However, when in such circumstances a weapon has to be disposed of, it can be sold to a registered firearms dealer. Since firearms dealers are subject to restrictions both on the number of weapons they may hold and on the period of their retention, and because the commercial market for second-hand bullet-firing weapons is very limited in Northern Ireland, administrative arrangements exist for the Northern Ireland Office to buy in weapons which cannot be disposed of through registered dealers. The expenditure in the 1974–75 financial year to date is about £11,000.Weapons which have been called in by the police for safe keeping are suitably stored and maintained in a police armoury.The Chief Constable advises owners on the secure storage and immobilisation of all weapons, including those which the owner may wish to keep for sentimental reasons.