An attempt to restrict the ownership of pump action shotguns has failed at Westminster.
Labour MP Luke Pollard introduced a private members bill in an attempt to restrict pump-action shotguns after the tragic shootings in his Plymouth constituency last year. The bill was debated as a ‘ten minute rule’ bill which strictly limits the amount of parliamentary time allotted to a proposed law.
Introducing the bill, Pollard said: “I want to rid our communities of these dangerous and unnecessary pump-action weapons that are currently held in homes throughout the country.”
The proposed bill would have restricted the storage of pump-action shotguns so that they could not be stored in the owner’s home. Bill Harriman, BASC director of firearms, said: “The Plymouth shooting was a horrific tragedy. However, it is only right that no knee-jerk reactions are made before the coroner’s review and the Independent Office for Police Conduct report are published.
“BASC has met Luke Pollard following the Plymouth murders. There is a firm commitment from both sides that the correct actions are taken to reduce the risk of another tragedy happening. There is also an acceptance that the risk is in the person holding the firearm, not the firearm itself. Any response to this incident must be evidence-led.”
The rules for the introduction of 10 minute rule bills are extremely arcane and can involve MPs sleeping outside a key parliamentary office in order to be the first to register a bill on a specific day. Ten minute rule bills rarely become law as they are normally viewed as low priority legislation and are often opposed by the government, this leads to them running out of time.
In a brief statement the Home Office, whose support would almost certainly have been required for the bill to be come law, declined to back the bill with a spokesperson saying, “The police have in place robust processes for issuing and reviewing firearms and shotgun licenses. If there are further lessons to be learned from the tragic case, we will update the statutory guidance for firearms licensing.”