asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if, in view of the representations which have been made to him, he will arrange to extend the period of consultation on the Draft Firearms (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 1975, due to have terminated on 11th June, by a further month.
The draft order has been available since 16th May and comments were called for by 11th June, subsequently extended to 14th June. There have been extensive consultations with bodies representing the full range of gun-sport activity, and any further extension of the period for comment would not serve any useful purpose.
I thank the hon. Gentleman for extending the period slightly, which has enabled the views of committees like the Long Room Committee and the Joint Shooting Committee to be made known to the Government. When he has these views before him and has an opportunity to consider them, will he give his attention to the widespread objection to Article 8, which raises the minimum age, which many people feel is both an objectionable course to take and one which will be counter-productive?
I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman's expression of thanks. I shall bear his points in mind and I shall give full consideration to the article to which he refers, on which we have received some representations.