Offensive Weapons Bill

Written evidence submitted by Mr Christopher McColl (OWB108)

1. I wish to reply to the Offensive Weapons Bill regards 50 caliber rifles (rifle capable of over 13600 Jules). I am a shooter I own and shoot a number of firearms both Antique and modern and I own and shoot a 50 caliber rifle, my 50 caliber rifle is not an offensive weapon it is a target rifle. It stands 4 ft. 10 inches high and weighs in at a little over 30 lbs. it is a single shot rifle and is very slow to load and fire, it can only be fired while lying down prone. The Home office had made a lot of noise about 50 caliber rifles being used by terrorists; however the only use by a terrorist group in the UK was by the IRA in South Armagh who allegedly acquired 2 x 50 cal rifles during the troubles they used them at distances of around 300 yards.

2. The ammunition used by civilian shooters is target ammunition and is not materially destructive, civilians are not allowed to own or use exploding ammunition most target rounds disintegrate on impact, steel targets would not last long if people blew holes in them it would be a pointless and costly exercise. Even if civilian shooters could get hold of materially destructive ammunition the MOD ban them on all there ranges, I could not use them even if I wanted too.

3. Body Armour the home office claim the 50 caliber will penetrate Body Armour it will, but so will a lot of ammunition, the British army use 5.56 mm ammunition for infantry use. This round is not legal in the UK to shoot the larger species of deer and can only be used on smaller animals such as Roe and Muntjac deer. Stalkers up and down the country will own rifles that can penetrate police and military body Armour. Most target shooting is carried out using 308/7.62 rifles that will penetrate body armour

4. The Home Office claims that high energy and rapid firing weapon are a danger to the public, the UK has some of the toughest firearms legislation in the world there is no evidence to support this claim, illegally held weapons including pistols are a danger to the public the Home Office should concentrate on removing illegal firearms from criminals not making legitimate members of the public scapegoats for its failings to tackle the real problem

5. All of the high profile terrorist attacks on the continent using firearms have been with fully automatic firearms the AK 47 is the proffered weapon of choice by terrorists not 50 caliber rifles

6. The Home Office picked on 50 Caliber rifles but when it found out what that meant for other types of rifles, such as big game rifles it quickly dropped the use of 50 caliber in favour of an energy restriction how can the government decide that a rifle with a kinetic energy of more than 13,600 joules is more dangerous than a rifle that shoots 13,000 joules. Is it the Home office intention to keep reducing the energy level over the coming months and years?

7. There are very few 50 BMG rifles owed by target shooters in the UK we have to belong to a Home office approved club and adhere to strict security arrangements we are law abiding people who adhere to the rules, shooting 50 Calibre rifles is not a cheap sport I work hard to be able to afford my sport.

8. The home office attack on the ownership of 50 caliber rifles is just a publicity stunt "look what we have done to make you safe" the pistol ban has achieved nothing to stop criminals obtaining guns this ban on 50 caliber rifles will not make the public safer the one 50 caliber rifle stolen recently was dumped by the thief’s on waist ground as they soon realized it was of no use to criminals, terrorists don’t want them, criminals don’t want them but the government wants to ban them from law abiding citizens.

9. The attack on legitimate shooters must stop the government is losing credibility with poor legislation, it promised to tackle clime and the courses of crime this proposed legislation on firearms does nothing, to stop violate crime it just alginates the shooting public.

Regards C D McColl

July 2018


Prepared 13th August 2018