Report on the use of air weapons

Part of Offensive Weapons Bill – in the House of Commons at 2:45 pm on 28th November 2018.

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Photo of Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Conservative, The Cotswolds 2:45 pm, 28th November 2018

Indeed. There will be lots of other colleagues who signed the amendments who are also of the remainer class. I do not agree with them, but I am nevertheless grateful to them for supporting my amendments.

Since the Bill was published, I have become aware that shooting associations have been concerned that the advice received by Ministers was not based on the facts but on a misrepresentation of target shooting. The consultation in advance of the Bill described .50 calibre single-shot target rifles as “materiel destruction” weapons. Nothing could be further from the truth. Civilian target rifles fire inert ammunition at paper targets. Only the military possess materiel destruction weapons that fire explosive and armour piercing rounds—all illegal in this country for civilian use.

Much of the evidence given to the Public Bill Committee continued on this theme. These target rifles were described by those who advised the Government as “extreme” and “military”, and inaccuracy, exaggeration and misrepresentation were given full play to support the ban. Much of this was refuted by the shooting organisations. They pointed out that the National Ballistics Intelligence Service was mistaken in declaring that the effective range of these .50 calibre rifles is 6,800 metres. The actual effective range is much less than a third of this.

I want to go on to the National Crime Agency’s letter, which the Government seem to place such reliance on and which was placed in the Library of this House.