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Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988: Visitors' Permit

Volume 620: debated on Thursday 14 December 2000

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they have any evidence of danger to the public having arisen through the practice of some police forces of issuing visitors permits under the Firearms Acts for a full year rather than for the declared duration of each visit to the United Kingdom. [HL9]

Section 17(6) of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 allows the police to issue a British Visitors' Permit for a given period, so long as that period does not exceed 12 months. This gives the police the flexibility to issue a Permit to a non-United Kingdom resident who may have legitimate reasons for bringing specified firearms or ammunition into the United Kingdom on a number of occasions within any 12-month period.It is for the police to decide whether to issue a Permit for a 12-month period or for a shorter more specific duration, placing such conditions on the Permit as they see fit. They would treat every case on its individual merits and we have not been made aware of any occasions where the use of this discretion has led to a threat to public safety.