You've got to watch BBC Parliament on occasions
- as you never know what they'll talk about next:
But I've just been watching BBC Parliament and the following debate
Lord Clement-Jones (Lib Dem) asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they have considered the potential impact of the Violent
Crime Reduction Bill on the collection and display of weapons of
national historical interest and on re-enactment of their use.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): My
Lords, we are aware that firearms laws must balance public safety
considerations and specific interests. We have therefore tabled
amendments to the Bill that would allow a person to manufacture,
modify, sell or import realistic imitation firearms for the purposes
of a museum or gallery; for TV, film or theatrical productions; or
for historical re-enactments. We have also tabled an amendment that
would exempt deactivated firearms and certain antiques from the
definition of a realistic imitation firearm.
Lord Clement-Jones (Lib Dem): My Lords, I thank the Minister for
that reply. I entirely agree with her that a balanced approach must
be taken, and I welcome the amendments that have been tabled since I
put this question down, although I would not claim cause and effect.
I urge the Minister to reconsider the position of private museums,
which are not caught by these two amendments and will therefore
still have a problem with deactivated weapons. Many such museums are
extremely popular and have had up to 1 million visitors during the
course of their existence. In many cases they are also a valuable
source of weapons for public museums, as private collectors often
bequeath them their collections.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, I hoped the answer I gave the
noble Lord would give him the pleasure it obviously has, but I say
further that these are issues we are going to consider. We will be
able to do so as they go through Committee. The purpose of the
amendments we have brought forward is to deal with the genuine
concern in theatrical and other issues. There is an opportunity for
us to look further at those matters.