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Volume 504: debated on Thursday 28 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many guns were seized by the police in each year since 1997. (312762)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department is taking to reduce the availability of guns. (312763)

The Home Office and ACPO have jointly funded the establishment of the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) with an investment of £5.5 million. NABIS has made significant contributions to police and UKBA operations disrupting firearms supply, linking over 350 incidents in which firearms have been discharged and receiving over 1,000 items for analysis.

Through the Tackling Knives Action Programme the Home Office is also working with local partners to tackle gun and gang crime. This programme has included a consultation on strengthening controls on deactivated firearms in order to reduce their availability to criminals for use in crime. We are now analysing responses.

The Home Office has implemented a range of strict controls on the lawful possession of firearms, including a ban on handguns. Chief officers of police must be satisfied that an applicant has a good reason for wanting a particular firearm and is fit to be entrusted with it before issuing a certificate.