Offensive Weapons Bill

Written evidence submitted by the Southern Gun Company Ltd (OWB164)

Pertaining to Clauses 28 (1)(2) and 29 (1)(2)

Manufacturer of rifles which are being classified as 'MARS' within the bill and then placed in Section 5 as prohibited weapons.

Two types of rifle have been linked together under the name 'MARS'.

The first which is actually called 'MARS' is a modified CZ56 army rifle the action of which was explained to the committee by Greg Taylor on the 17th July 2018, these rifles are imported and are present in a quantity of probably less than 200 (this number should be known precisely as they are imported and by one company only). This rifle loads and fires by repeated pulls of the trigger only and uses full strength rifle ammunition, 7.62x39 etc.

The second are the rifles that we have manufactured in Cornwall since 2007 and far from being an attempt to circumvent existing legislation was developed in response to shortcomings in the operation of our existing range of straight pull rifles which we have manufactured since 1997. Specifically, small pistol cartridge cases such as the 9mm and 45 Acp lack weight/mass and when ejected by our straight pull rifle versions were only ejected reliably if the action was cycled very rapidly and this was a problem for our older and less dextrous or disabled customers. Straight pull rifles lack what is called primary extraction and can be very difficult to eject case from if conditions and ammunition quality is not perfect, this.

Our rifle is known as a Lever Release Rifle and works by the following method, pull the cocking handle to the rear until the bolt locks, load a magazine, press the side lever down and the bolt moves forward and loads a round of ammunition, pull the trigger and the rifle fires and again the bolt locks to the rear. Two distinct and separate actions are required to load and fire the rifle, not just repeated pulls of the trigger.

We employ five staff and normally contribute close to one million pounds yearly into the local economy but the financial cost of the implied and proposed ban on our product has caused us severe problems, we will have to reduce staff very soon. We have some three hundred lever release rifles in stock and two million pounds worth of spare parts and accessories for those rifles and the over two thousand rifles that we have already sold. We have already stated these amounts in the response to the home office consultation but all seem to have been ignored.

These rifles are not faster than any 'John Wayne lever action rifle' which are in civilian circulation by the tens of thousands. Speed is only of value when accompanied by skill, and that level of skill is only obtained by the long hours of practice that legitimate shooters put into their sport.

Guns do not kill people, people kill people, if you make the punishment for the criminal use of any weapons so severe that criminals will reject their use, that will be a good days work. This weapons ban will cost far more than has been presented to you and achieve nothing. Our country is in all identifiable terms bankrupt I urge you not to put another nail in the box without very good reasons, none of which have been so far presented that would justify the ban of any class or type of firearm.

Yours sincerely

Robert B I Clark

September 2018


Prepared 6th September 2018