Offensive Weapons Bill

Written evidence submitted by Greg Hassall (OWB198)

I wish to show my objections to any changes being made to the current firearms law within the UK.

The changes would mean an end not only to sporting shooting but also to shooting for the purposes of conservation and wildlife management. Furthermore any changes to the laws regarding air rifles would severely impact the uptake of new shooters for all disciplines of shooting undertaken within the UK as well as costing huge sums of money to govern as has been the case in Scotland, where most law abiding shooters instantly became criminals overnight thanks to failures by Scottish police forces.

The current legislation is some of the strictest in the world, any further restrictions would render shooting sports an impossibility for many current law abiding shooters and damage conservation and wildlife management projects across the country. Any further restrictions on air weapons would be unfounded and the reasons for the proposed further restrictions and invalid and draconian. Air rifle shooting is a popular past time for people from all walks of life and helps maintain a healthy countryside as well as create employment opportunities and socialising opportunities for those who otherwise may feel isolated. The UK is the world leader in air weapon development, design and manufacturing. The proposed changes would be a massive blow to the gun makers within the UK who are held as world leaders in the sport.

I believe this is yet another knee jerk reaction to unfounded ‘worries’ from none shooters and those affected by the recent shootings in London. Further negotiations with shooters and shooting organisations must be undertaken to ensure a fair firearms law that keeps the public and shooting safe. Further restrictions on law abiding shooters will not solve gun crime issues (as has already been proven from past changes to the law) and will be seen as a further attack on the countryside and the way of life we enjoy, damaging the governments reputation and creating further mistrust between country dwellers and the government.

In order to form a fair and safe firearms law, shooters, farmers, gamekeepers, coaches, sporting bodies and police specialists must be approached in order that these kinds of draconian, knee jerk laws are kept away from parliament so more pressing issues can be dealt with.

The licensing of air weapons will destroy shooting in the UK, many shooters take up shooting through taking up air rifle shooting, quite simply, if air weapons are licensed due to unfounded concerns over safety and access then shooting as we know it within the UK will come to an end as well as polarise many current and future shooters.

It is worth noting that, with the exception of the United States, the countries with the highest amounts of privately held firearms per number of head have the lowest rates of gun crime. Your issue here is not law abiding citizens, nor is it the shooting industry or those within it and we ask; please do not turn us into public enemies by criminalising our sport.

September 2018


Prepared 12th September 2018