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Air Weapons Regulations

Volume 657: debated on Monday 1 April 2019

The misuse of air weapons has led to too much tragic loss of life. That is why I commissioned the review. We intend to publish our conclusions alongside a consultation on firearms safety issues, to which we committed during the passage of the Offensive Weapons Bill.

I am grateful for that answer, but the review was announced in October 2017 after my Adjournment debate. It closed in February 2018 and last July, the Minister told me that it would be published as soon as possible after the summer recess. We had more assurances in the Public Bill Committee, when I tabled further amendments, but we still have no answers to give the victims of those lethal weapons. What do the Government have to say to the families of those who have been killed and to those who have been injured, such as people in my constituency and in that of my right hon. Friend the Member for Delyn (David Hanson)?

I am genuinely sorry that this is taking much longer than I would like, and I am more than happy to meet Mr and Mrs Studley and other victims. However, bearing in mind that we have some of the toughest regulation in the world, we have a range of issues to look at in relation to firearms safety—we have committed to consulting on them in the Offensive Weapons Bill—and we are determined to consider them in the round.

Does the Minister share my concern about the easy availability of air and imitation firearms? Given that there were 1,300 offences relating to imitation firearms last year, does he agree that it puts our police officers in a particularly difficult position if they do not know whether a weapon is real or an imitation?

I understand my hon. Friend’s point, but the broader point is that it is absolutely right to look again at the regulations on air weapons. They are already tight in terms of ownership and possession, but we have undertaken to look again particularly at what we can do to tighten up the safety regime, and that is exactly what we intend to do.

May I ask the Minister for his help in encouraging Cash Exchange on London Road in Morden not to have firearms for sale right in its front window, which is encouraging the purchase of those weapons?

I am more than happy to sit down with the hon. Lady and to talk through the specifics of that. Based on what I have heard, I am sure that we will be happy to work together on that.