asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to his Written Answer to the hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, East (Mrs. Bain) on 6th November, in which he states the Government's intention to introduce legislation to increase the age limits relating to the purchase and possession of air weapons by young people (a) what are the legislative measures proposed, (b) how the real need for these measures was identified and what statistical evidence can be advanced in support of their introduction, (c) what are the anticipated effects and benefits from these measures, and (d) what data will be available in future, with the same parameters as the evidence in (b) to enable statistically valid assessments to be made of the effect of the measures proposed in (a).
(a) To raise to 18 the minimum age for purchase of an air weapon or its possession in a public place, and to 16 for possession more generally, subject to exceptions for possession when the weapon is securely covered or when the possessor is under supervision of a person aged 21 years or over. (b) These measures were proposed in the consultative document on the control of firearms in Great Britain (Cmnd. 5297) published in 1973 and attracted general support from interested bodies. (c) A reduction in the incidence of misuse of air weapons by young persons.I shall write to the hon. Member about statistics.