Amendment 95A

Part of Offensive Weapons Bill - Report (2nd Day) – in the House of Lords at 5:45 pm on 4th March 2019.

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Photo of Lord Lucas Lord Lucas Conservative 5:45 pm, 4th March 2019

My Lords, yes, of course I am going to withdraw my amendment but before I do, I again urge the Government to look at the harm that they are focused on rather than the mechanism by which that harm is delivered. If, as I think is entirely reasonable, the Government do not want rapid-firing rifles, why does the Bill not say that? Just because the energy from firing the previous shot is conveniently available—that is the way that these rifles work at present—does not mean that you could not create a rifle that worked off previously stored compressed gas, batteries, a wind-up clockwork mechanism or some other means of storing energy that would allow a round to be automatically loaded, or loaded with an interrupt mechanism, after the previous round had been fired.

In this legislation we seem to be dealing with the mechanism rather than the underlying problem. Surely, if we deal with the underlying problem, we will not get the situation arising again where a couple of designs of rifle have been allowed to be created—they have not grown up without permission—and have been sold, when, fundamentally, as my noble friend Lord Attlee has pointed out, we feel uncomfortable about self-loading rifles. We are not banning self-loading rifles here; we are banning one particular mechanism of self-loading. That seems short-sighted and not the best way of tackling the problem.

I would be really grateful if my noble friend the Minister could share the evidence that these particular rifles are in fact faster-loading than a bolt-action rifle, not so much because I am concerned about this particular case but because I would like to know that when it comes to making this sort of judgment in future we can look at and understand the basis on which the decision has been taken.