Offensive Weapons Bill

Written evidence for the Offensive Weapons Bill, submitted by Dhan Panesar (OWB165)

To Whom it May Concern,

I am writing to voice my concern and dismay at the latest amendments to the Offensive Weapons bill being debated in parliament, as both a member of a shooting organisation, and as a concerned citizen.

In the original form, I submitted feedback strongly condemning the inclusion of a proposed ban on certain "rapid firing" rifles (Lever Release firearms, which work no faster than a standard lever-action gun, and are often used by disabled or older shooters with arthritis to aid their sport), as well as the proposal to outlaw large-caliber guns (the only instance in the history of this country in which a .50BMG firearm has been used by criminals was during the Troubles, in the 90s, when a single rifle was stolen from an army barracks).

The feedback to the original bill was noted, and as it was withdrawn for amendments to be made, we all assumed that perhaps the bill was to be subject to some common-sense changes which might actually aid in the protection of the British public, and ensure the preservation of one of the oldest and safest sports in this country's history.

I cannot - with sufficient disgust or dismay - express my reaction to the amended bill, which not only does nothing to resolve the issues that myself and many other law abiding sportsmen had with the original, but actually adds further proposed restrictions on the use of sporting firearms in the United Kingdom.

I list the following specific objections to the proposals:

· There is the proposal to bar under-18s from using air-rifles outside of registered shooting clubs - itself a heartbreaking attack on the future of the shooting sports. Many sports shooters first become interested in the shooting sports as children, using their parents' air-rifles on private land, in a safe environment. In the vast majority of criminal misuse of air guns, these guns are misused by adults - who have no intention of taking part in a lawful sporting activities - rather than children. Indeed, the law already stipulates that homeowners keep their air-guns secured away from children, so any injuries resulting from their misuse by minors comes from parents failing to follow laws already in place.

· There comes an amendment which would move shotgun cartridges (ammunition) from their current (Section 2) status, onto Section 1 (more restricted) status, which would require shotgun owners to apply for a wholly separate, more difficult to acquire license simply to hold ammunition for a shotgun (which requires only safe storage, a clean background check, and a lawful purpose to acquire). According to the BBC, there are 574,946 Section 2 (Shotgun) owners in the UK, but only 138,728 people registered for Section 1 status, meaning that the police would, within six months of the passing of the Offensive Weapons Bill, be required to process 436,218 new applications for Section 1 licenses (including premisis inspections by police officers) JUST TO ALLOW ALREADY LICENSED GUN OWNERS TO POSSESS AMMUNITION. A ridiculous waste of police resources, given that the aforementioned Offensive Weapons Bill is supposed to be helping police to fight crime.

I hope that my feedback may shed some light on aspects of the proposals which may have been missed during their (very obviously rushed) implimentation. I understand that the intent behind its inception was wholesome and good, but I can assure you as someone who has experience dealing with the laws surrounding the shooting sports that the proposed changes will genuinely do nothing but burden an already highly-pressurised group of very law-abiding citizens, many of whom invest much time and money in their sport. I hope that this message finds you well, and I genuinely wish you the very best of luck in your attempts to keep us from harm at the hands of evildoers.

Sincerely,

D S Panesar

September 2018

 

Prepared 10th September 2018