Posted 13 October 2017 - 05:17 PM
Latest news posted on Gallery Rifle
Last Friday Andrew Mercer (NRA), and Paul Dale (BASC) met with the home office regarding such matters as the club license fees. However they also took the opportunity to raise the issue of the proposed ban on .50 and rapid firing firearms, in an attempt to establish what exactly is the background to this consultation.
Apparently .50 and lever release firearms have been on the agenda for a while now, the Home Office have taken the opportunity to include these additional firearm controls in the latest raft of prohibitions on acids and the mail order of bladed weapons.
The following points are not set in stone, and until the consultation is open we cannot assume that these are 100% accurate, they may be subject to change.
1. The consultation process will open very soon, possibly next week.
2. The consultation will be short, and the outcome (if this results in changes or a ban) will be enacted as primary legislation (law) in JANUARY 2018.
3. The restriction will apply to anything that is capable of generating a muzzle energy that exceeds 10,000ft/lbs
4. The concern over civilians having access to .50 rifles has been elevated following the theft of a .50 rifle from an RFD, however the Home Office believed that the theft was from a regular shooter. They will be corrected on this matter. The stolen firearm was completely functional, in that it was taken with its bolt.
5. The other primary concern is that of the potential material destructive capabilities.
The following observations and comments were raised at the meeting.
· Andrew pointed out that the FCSA is a very well run club, with an excellent safety record. No criminal use in the UK.
· If these rifles are banned, then the compensation payments bill will be very high due to the extraordinary cost of such rifles and associated equipment.
· We do not use section 5 ammunition, we use target ammunition that is not designed to have any destructive capabilities.
· BASC are most upset that this consultation has been announced without any prior warning, as this in contrary to an agreement previously put in place to eliminate any unexpected surprises.
· The Home Office REALLY doesnt like lever release firearms.
I spoke with Andrew at length after his meeting. We discussed the above, in particular points 4 and 5.
If the Home Office is concerned that these rifles might fall into the hands of criminals (point 4 above) then we need to provide a solution. The solutions discussed (between the Home Office and the NRA) were as follows:
· Complete ban
· Grandfather rights i.e. you can keep and use your .50, you can never sell it to another shooter, when you die it gets destroyed.
· Make .50 rifles section 7.3, this was deemed impractical as we travel vast distances between ranges, we have no armoury to store the rifles in at a range.
· Improve home security, separate the bolt and keep this in a separate safe in a separate room. Possibly require a monitored alarm system for the premises. I prefer this option.
The Home Office believe that these are material destruction devices (point 5). This is clearly rubbish when using section 1 ammunition. Andrew advised that to counter this argument we need to state the exact properties of a target projectile, or mil spec ball, impacting on a variety of targets. I have witnessed Amax turning to dust on the surface of a sand backstop, ball ammunition has similar properties. However rather than rely solely on a statement from us, we are calling in an independent ballistic expert, a non-member, and using a private range facility will conduct a series of tests. The evidence gathered will be used to prove our point.
BASC is on our side. However not all shooters are, yet. One worrying development that I leaned of today is that one police force are now reluctant to issue a variation for anything over .300 win mag, even to FCSA members. Hopefully this is just one police force and not a new national trend. Unless the entire shooting community backs this opposition campaign then expect to continue to see a never ending wave of consultations, resulting in the eventual ban of everything we enjoy.
Social media continues to be a huge problem, some outrageous comments being posted, along with photographs of military looking weapons that would scare the hell out of the average Guardian reader. So please dont get involved in any such online discussions, please dont post photographs and whatever you do dont get angry. Everything we do online is being watched, angry folks with guns can expect an unwelcome visit from the law, especially in the current political environment.
As soon as the consultation goes live Ill send out another email, with advice on how to respond.
Chairman, FCSA (UK)