24 October 2018
Offensive Weapons Bill Amendments

Thank you for contacting me regarding amendments to the Offensive Weapons Bill. Unfortunately, the email that you sent me contains a number of factual inaccuracies.

The rifles that the Bill proposes to ban are very different from the military-style rifles that you refer to. The military rifles are often configured to fire in a semi-automatic way by using a magazine and armour-piercing or incendiary bullets.

The civilian rifles that you are concerned about have no magazine, must be loaded by a bolt using a single bullet at time and they are only legalised for entirely peaceful reason in a target range. Furthermore, the armour-piercing and incendiary bullets are illegal for use in civilian rifles.

No legally held civilian rifle of this kind has ever been used to commit a crime in the UK. No one has ever been charged with illegally importing one. Only one legally held rifle has ever been stolen and it was rapidly abandoned by the criminals. The rifle used in Northern Ireland during the troubles was not legally held but illegally imported. The real problem with gun crime is the estimated 500,000 illegal guns on our streets which demands increased policing.

Finally, contrary to what certain elements of the press have asserted, this issue has nothing whatsoever to do with Brexit. Indeed, there are some perfectly honest Remain supporters who have signed my amendments.

I hope you will accept that for these reasons, in order to support the shooting community I genuinely support these amendments.