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Home Affairs Committee announces a new inquiry into Firearms Control

15 July 2010

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On 15 July, the Home Affairs Committee announced a new inquiry into firearms control.  The Committee will examine whether or not there is a need for changes to the way in which firearms and/or shotgun certificates are issued, monitored or reviewed as a means of preventing gun violence. In particular the inquiry will focus on:

  • The extent to which legally-held guns are used in criminal activity and the relationship between gun control and gun crime, including the impact of the Firearms (Amendment) Acts 1997;
  • Whether or not the current laws governing firearms licensing are fit for purpose, including progress on implementing the Committee’s recommendations set out in its Second Report of the 1999-2000 session;
  • Proposals to improve information-sharing between medics and the police in respect of gun licensing;
  • Information-sharing between police and prisons in assessing the risk of offenders who may have access to firearms; and
  • The danger presented by, and legislation regulating, airguns.

The Committee is seeking written submissions of no more than 2,500 words from interested parties, before it takes oral evidence on this inquiry. Organisations and individuals interested in making written submissions are invited to do so by Friday 27th August 2010. Further advice on making a submission can be found below. 

Oral evidence sessions will be held on Tuesdays in the autumn: further announcements will be made in due course.

Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

In the light of the recent tragic shootings in Cumbria and in Northumberland, the Committee wishes to examine the legislation governing firearms.”

It will seek to determine whether there are lessons to be learnt from recent events, including the role of doctors and criminal justice agencies in liaising with police to assess the risk posed by individuals. We also want to be certain that our gun laws are clear, transparent and enforceable.”


Written evidence should if possible be in Word or rich text format—not PDF format—and sent by e-mail. The use of colour and expensive-to-print material, e.g. photographs, should be avoided. The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from.

Submissions must address the terms of reference. They should be in the format of a self-contained memorandum. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document must include an executive summary. Further guidance on the submission of evidence.

Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere, though previously published work can be referred to in a submission and submitted as supplementary material. Once submitted, your submission becomes the property of the Committee and no public use should be made of it unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee.

Please bear in mind that the Committee is not able to investigate individual cases.

The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to publish the written evidence it receives, either by printing the evidence, publishing it on the internet or making it publicly available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure; the Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

For data protection purposes, it would be helpful if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details in a covering letter or e-mail. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The remit of the Home Affairs Committee is to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Home Office and its associated public bodies.