Offensive Weapons Bill

Supplementary written evidence submitted by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (OWB61(a))

Thank you for the opportunity for Bill Harriman and I to give evidence to the Public Bill committee.

Having read the Hansard there are a couple of points that I would like to clarify.

At column 70, I illustrated the misleading information the committee had been given with the example of the senior firearms and explosives officer with the National Crime Agency, telling the committee " the .50 Browning round …. is effective out to 6,800 metres , according to MOD data. That is 6.8 km, which is an enormous range." (Second sitting, column 32). There is a difference between maximum and effective range which I explained to the committee.

In response a member of the committee said, referring to their oral evidence, "in fairness, the NCA said that the absolute maximum potential range was 6.8 km". (Third sitting, column 32).

That is not what the official record says. To resolve the point the manufacturers of one make of the .50 calibre target rife, Steyr , give the effective range as 1,500 metres - . That is less than a quarter of the figure given in oral evidence by the NCA and more than 500 metres less than the range the committee was told by the NCA is the range for target shooting by civilians – 1,000 yards.

On a second point, the figures relating to stolen firearms given by the witness from the Metropolitan Police need to be put in perspective. So far this year, 204 firearms have been stolen out of a total of 1,936,915 legally held ones. That is 0.01%. This indicates that the shooting community takes the statutory duty to safeguard its firearms very seriously.

The bare statistics do not give a complete picture. Many of those 204 firearms will have been stolen from police approved security measures. People have done their best to secure their guns according to police advice. The Committee needs to drill down to those cases where certificate holder negligence was the cause of the theft to get the true picture.

The Home Office stopped collecting statistics for stolen licenced firearms some 10 years ago because levels were so low.

In tackling gun crime the target should not be the law-abiding minority but should focus on the handguns and illegal importation of firearms which make up the vast bulk of guns used in crime.

BASC supports a new offence of possessing the components of ammunition with intent to manufacture ammunition illegally.

Christopher Graffius

Executive Director of Communications & Public Affairs

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation

July 2018


Prepared 5th September 2018