Offensive Weapons Bill

Written evidence submitted by Mark Simpkins (OWB126)

Dear Sir or madam

Offensive Weapon Consultation

I wish to make a personal submission with regards to the Offensive Weapons Consultation. To briefly explain my back ground. I have been involved, in shooting sports since the age of 12 I am now 45.

My shooting history

Learnt basic shooting safety and target skills as part of a Scout group

I was given an Air rifle at 14 as a Christmas Present

Joined an Air rifle club at 16

At 17 Joined a Clay pigeon club and was granted a Shotgun Licence

Also joined Pembrokeshire Wild Fowlers club

At 18 applied for a Firearms Licence for a .22 rifle for vermin destruct

At 19 Joined a Pistol shooting Club where I was granted a certificate for a .22 Pistol and .45 Pistol

At 25 I had to hand my pistols to the Police due to the 1997 Pistol Ban.

At 35 became a committee member of Haverfordwest Target Shooting Club, I am now competition secretary. For the club.

I am a member of the British Association and conservation, Countryside Alliance, Haverfordwest Target Shooting Club.

For the Last 10 years I have taken an interest in Firearms law and the laws relating to Firearms in other countries. Great Britain has some of the most restrictive Firearms laws in Europe and possible the World, next to Communist countries. To the best of my Knowledge no other European country has enacted a Self-Loading rifle ban on its citizen’s. No other European country has banned its citizen from the use of pistols. For target shooting.

Banning the Sale of Knives

I strongly believe that the banning of Knives over the internet will be a waste of time.

Anyone who has access to a piece of steel and a grinding stone can make a Knife. Your time and money would be far better served using education and also focusing poverty and drugs misuse.

Your Bill to ban knifes would be like putting a sticking plaster on a deep cut.

THIS PROSPECTIVE LAW WILL ONLY AFFECT THE LAW ABIDING AND NOT THE CRIMINAL

Banning of Bump Stocks

The banning of bump stop stock is fairly pointless, a Semi-automatic rifle is required iin conjunction with a bump stock. All Semi-automatic rifles in the UK have been banned since 1988 other than .22 rim fire.

High Energy Rifles

The .50 calibre in civilian use is used for target shooting at long ranges. These rifles are very heavy and are also long, they are most certainly not easily concealable. They have not been used in crime

Though one was used in the troubles in Northern Ireland this was believed to have been illegally imported into Ireland from the USA. I believe that there has been one case of one these rifle having been stolen from a Licenced Firearms Holder and I also believe that the firearm was recovered within a short space of time. A GREAT DEAL OF SKILL AND PRACTISE IS REQUIRED TO SHOOT ACCURATELY OVER LONG DISTANCE. YOUR AVERAGE CRIMINAL IS HIGHLY UNLIKELY TO HAVE THIS SKILL SET.

Though I do not have accurate evidence there is believed to be somewhere between 150 and 200 of this class of firearm in the hands of civilian sport shooters such as myself. The average cost of these firearms can easily exceed £5000, additional equipment is often required which would bring a more likely cost closer to £9,000.

THIS TYPE OF FIREARM HAS NEVER BEEN USED IN TYPE OF CRIME

MARS AND LEVER RELEASE RIFLES

The Mars rifle and Lever release rifles are of particular benefit to whose target shooters who are handicapped or have difficulty working a standard bolt action rifle, there are a number of people who have purchased this class of firearm to help them in continuing to enjoy target shooting sports It is believed that there are some 2000 owners in the UK of this class of firearm. Most of these rifle cost in excess of £2300 and even more if you take in additional equipment that is required to be a competent marksman. I believe that the Home Office and elements of the Police are trying to say that the MAR? Lever Release have the same rate of fire as a Semi-Automatic rifles which were banned in 1988, this is not the case. They are not as fast at reloading as a self-loading rifle

THJIS TYPE OF FIREARM HAS NEVER BEEN USED IN ANY TYPE OF CRIME OR TERROIST ACT

Additional points for your consideration

A. Police have offered NO EVIDENCE of either classes of Firearm having ever been used in crime or terrorist attack.

B Rifles have only been used in 1% of all gun crime, it would seem that the favoured gun for a criminal is a pistol. As you will be aware pistols for Sports shooters such as myself were banned in 1997, where we were told that this would "dramatically reduce armed crime". Look how that worked out!

C. Licensing procedures in the UK are among the tuftiest in the world

D. When the Police and Nabis gave evidence to the Home office Committee they moved on from 50 Cal and then started talking about various other firearms issues which were not even mentioned in the original Offensive Weapons Consultation. This should not have been allowed as this does not give people such as myself adequate time to correctly respond especially as miss information was given by the Police/Nabis.

It would have been prudent if the Home Office had consulted the various shooting organisations before going ahead with this consultation

E. By banning the MARS/Lever release rifle you will severely disadvantage disabled sports shooters and also take a legitimate sport away from large numbers of the Shooting community.

Conclusions

There is no reason to ban any of the Firearms that has been discussed there is no evidence to support a ban. Just because someone THINKS that there MIGHT be an issue is really beyond a joke. Trucks and cars now seem to be the more favoured weapon of the Terrorist yet we see no ban.

Successive governments have treated the Shooting community very badly and have at every opportunity tried to restrict the ownership of Firearms in private hands. So much so that our own Olympic pistol team has to train abroad because it’s far easier than in the UK. The Police try to bend the law to impose regulations on the shooting community which have not been made law. Is it any wonder that the Trust and goodwill the shooting community and the Police is at an all-time LOW?

THIS BAN WILL ONLY AFFECT THE LAW ABIDING

PLEASE DO THE SENSIBLE THING REMOVE ARTICLES 28 THROUGHT TO 35?

FROM THE OFFENSIVE WEAPONS BILL.

Yours faithfully

MARK SIMPKINS

August 2018

 

Prepared 13th August 2018