Rumours... any truth?

#1
I have just heard the rumour that the government wishes to force through devolution of firearms laws to the Scottish parliament before they are ousted next year, which would almost inevitably result in an attempt at air-gun licensing and extra controls on stalkers.

The rumour goes further to suggest that airgun controls would then be spread south of the border following their immediate "success".

Anyone else heard this rumour, and if true, could it be achieved in the time remaining?
 
#2
I have also heard a rumour that the Tories plan a "Firearms (Reform) Act" for their first 100 days in power that will reverse some of the worst nonsense of recent years. As they were architects of a great deal of it I'm not holding my breath.

I was asked to write up the principal requirements to the MP responsible though so who knows?
 
#3
EX_STAB said:
I have also heard a rumour that the Tories plan a "Firearms (Reform) Act" for their first 100 days in power that will reverse some of the worst nonsense of recent years. As they were architects of a great deal of it I'm not holding my breath.

I was asked to write up the principal requirements to the MP responsible though so who knows?
Whose, the Tories or ours?
 
#4
freedomman said:
EX_STAB said:
I have also heard a rumour that the Tories plan a "Firearms (Reform) Act" for their first 100 days in power that will reverse some of the worst nonsense of recent years. As they were architects of a great deal of it I'm not holding my breath.

I was asked to write up the principal requirements to the MP responsible though so who knows?
Whose, the Tories or ours?
Ours.

It was some of the basics that they could just get done, not all the big items.

>Home Office Criteria For approved clubs:

Categories of firearms for which approval may be granted to change From:

* Full bore rifles * (Currently restricted to rifles with a muzzle energy not exceeding 10,000 ftlbs - this restriction was introduced at the whim of the Home Office)
* Small bore rifles
* Muzzle-loading pistols

to:

Section 1 Firearms
Section 2 Firearms
(Section 5 Firearms) * if those firearms previously used in competitive shooting but moved to S5 since 1988 remain section 5 with special authority being provided for legitimate users)

>Firearm Certificates to specify the number and type of firearms that may be acquired / held rather than specifiying individual firearms and calibres. (Essentially moving to a system closer to that used for S2 certificates)


>Target pistol shooting to international disicplines to be considered "Good Reason" for S5 authority to possess pistols.
Expanding ammunition and its projectiles to be made S1 from S5

>Sporting use overseas to be considered "Good reason" to acquire and possess expanding ammunition within the UK for load developmnet, practice, zeroing etc.

>Conditions on certificates to be reduced to " Any lawful purpose" from the current plethora of often conflicting conditions applied. (Bill Harriman wrote an excellent article on thes topic for Shooting Times - Mr Harriman can be contacted at BASC on 01244 573000)

>In 2004 the Government set out a consultation document on Firearms. The results were never made public. My response at the time was as below. My views on some matters have changed slightly, where there is conflict between those notes above and those I wrote at the time of the consultation, the notes above represent my current thinking. The reply is included in full however.

I trust that this is of interest. Please contact me to discuss this further.

Yours Faithfully,
The response to the 2004 consultation is here:

Home Office Controls on Firearms Consultation



A response by (EX_STAB), Firearm Certificate and Shotgun Certificate holder.

30 August 2004.





General.



In the foreword to this consultation paper, David Blunkett claims to be “working very hard to tackle gun crime” and to have “stemmed the …rises seen in recent years.” The truth is that this hasn’t been done. Misdirected legislation has restricted the lawful firearm owner whilst armed crime has increased by 74% in the past 5 years. Crimes involving a handgun have increased by 107% in this period despite handguns being completely prohibited in 1997. “We’ve taken handguns off the streets” Alun Michael famously said at the time. The Government have clearly done nothing of the sort. The majority of the proposals in this consultation paper are, once again, directed at the lawful firearm owner. It seems that nothing has been learned.





Part 1. Firearms.



Categories and additional prohibitions.



The current three categories would make sense if the firearms in them were the types intended. Originally, Section1 firearms were most everything except machine-guns and rocket launchers. Now that many air pistols are classified in the same way as belt fed machine-guns, the system has become something of a nonsense. A great deal of the problem is the notion of “dangerous types of weapons”. The “good gun / bad gun” approach fails to address the point that it is people who are dangerous. A “dangerous” gun is one that is faulty and might blow up.



There is one particularly good reason to differentiate between shotguns and other firearms in that shotgun pellets have a very limited range at which a stray shot could cause damage or injury. Therefore there is less need to be concerned about the shooter having access to extensive ranges or land.



As to whether types of gun are in the right category, the answer can only be “no”. There is no need for handguns or self-loading rifles to be prohibited, nor for short- barrelled shotguns to be. The notion that a shotgun with a barrel 23 7/8 inches long (60.6cm) is a threat to the public but that one with a barrel 24 inches (61cm) long isn’t is patently absurd. It is high time to get away from the idea that prohibiting particular types of firearms will improve public safety, it hasn’t done yet and it won’t do in the future.

For the same reasons, banning large calibre rifles will not improve public safety – it will only penalise a handful of shooters who enjoy the challenge of shooting such rifles at very distant targets.

The length of barrel and presence or absence of a wrist brace on a revolver used for target shooting does not make it a threat to the public. Criminals have plenty of access to ordinary handguns anyway – just look at the crime statistics in annex E. Similarly, public safety will not be improved one iota by banning any more pump-action or self-loading shotguns. Banning .22 rimfire self-loading rifles won’t reduce armed crime but it will mean that many disabled shooters will have to give up shooting altogether. A friend and fellow shooter has a muscle wasting disease that makes it very difficult for him to operate a bolt-action rifle but he can and does put in good scores with a .22 rimfire self-loading rifle. As the handguns that he could manage have been prohibited and confiscated from him he would have to give up shooting completely. Will the public be any the safer for it?



The three categories do form a useful structure but only if they are applied sensibly. In truth, if an individual is a fit person to own a shotgun or rifle he is a fit person to own a machine gun, rocket launcher, pistol or anything else.



Licensing procedures and certification





1. There is considerable scope for harmonisation of shotgun and firearm certificates. The Burden of proof for “Good Reason” for section 1 firearms should be changed to the current system for shotguns in that the licensing authority should have to show that no good reason exists rather than the applicant having to provide one.
2. A Firearm Certificate should automatically cover the holder for shotguns. To make a Firearm Certificate holder go through the whole shotgun procedure with references and visits by the police etc. is a waste of everybody’s time.
3. An improvement in efficiency could be obtained by removing the need to record all purchases of ammunition on Firearm Certificates. This does nothing to contribute to public safety but means that many shooters have to regularly return their certificates because there is no space to record further purchases. This is a waste of Police resources.
4. In relation to the question of standards of fitness, I have recently acquired both a firearm certificate and a shotgun certificate and could see no difference in the approach taken. Clearly the licensing authority should ensure as far as is reasonable that the applicant is a fit person. If police in Scotland had done this, the Dunblane atrocity wouldn’t have happened.
5. It would be helpful if the licensing authority was compelled to acknowledge receipt of first time applications if they cannot be processed immediately.
6. The first useful suggestion to appear in the consultation paper is that licensing by category be introduced, for example a Firearm Certificate could be valid for, an agreed number of section 1 firearms. To devise further categories of firearms would be a bureaucratic nightmare and would achieve nothing. At present a lot of Police time is wasted in dealing with what are termed “one for one” variations. Typically this will involve a Certificate Holder selling a rifle of one calibre and wanting to replace it with another of the same calibre. A variation has to be applied for to do this. Similarly, if a certificate holder has authority to buy a rifle of one particular calibre but then decides to buy a different one, the certificate again has to be sent for a variation. This wastes the time of all involved and does nothing to defeat armed crime. Licensing by category would avoid this but the categories need to be very broad to achieve any useful reduction in bureaucracy.
7. Duration of Certificates. The present duration of five years does not cause any problems.
8. “Peaks and troughs” of certificate renewals. The following procedure could be adopted: Assuming that the licensing unit has a database of holders and renewal dates, a simple spreadsheet would identify future peaks. Certificate holders who fall within the peak period could be invited to renew earlier, the new certificate then lasting for five years plus the advance period. This would be very simple to administer – certificates could be renewed up to three or six months ahead without difficulty.
9. Medical information. The current situation is satisfactory.
10. Mandatory training. Accidents involving legally held firearms are so rare that mandatory training will not achieve anything. Police time would be better spent hunting armed criminals. However, were one or more of the shooting organisations to produce a short leaflet of safety points and information it could usefully be included with certificates by licensing authorities.
11. Component parts. There is little value in creating a statutory definition of firearm component parts. In any case where there is criminal intent there will invariably be enough other infringements of firearms law to secure a conviction.
12. Responsibilities for firearms licensing. Whilst it is in theory preferable for licensing to be kept at local level, the danger is that different standards may be employed at the whim of the Chief Constable. Dunblane is a good example of the possible consequences. The procedure for approving certificates needs to be much more open to scrutiny. A national firearms licensing body that oversaw the work of Police Licensing Units and that could be referred to in cases of dispute by applicant/holder and Police alike would be beneficial to all. Such a body could handle initial appeals against conditions on certificates at less public cost than the courts although the right to appeal to The Court should be allowed for refusals and against attached conditions.



Part 2. Unlicensed guns.



General: The title of this section is somewhat misleading. The “unlicensed guns” that cause a problem are the ones that are held illegally for criminal purposes. This section might have been better titled: “Uncontrolled items”. Replicas for example aren’t even “guns”.



Further restrictions:

Trying to define what is an “imitation” any further is a pointless exercise that won’t have any effect on the people who use them for criminal purposes. It might reasonably be argued that the criminal who holds up a newsagent with an imitation or soft air pistol is less of a threat to the public than if he finds himself one of the thousands of criminally held firearms in the country. Public funds would be better spent actually fighting crime through effective policing. The same goes for proposals to license air weapons, de-activated firearms etc.



Air gun power levels could be relaxed to some extent. There is no case for further restrictions.






Part 3. Age Limits



Once again, the proposals here fail to distinguish between armed crime and legitimate use. Where air weapons are used by young people to shoot at buses, neighbours etc. this indicates the need for effective policing rather than restrictions on legitimate users.



Whenever the phrase “gun culture” appears in anything produced by the Government it is a certainty that some rubbish will follow. This country does not have a problem with a “gun culture”. It has a problem with a “crime culture”. Proposals to apply further restrictions to young people wishing to shoot legitimately will not reduce armed crime.



It should be up to the parent or guardian to decide when a child is old enough to shoot under supervision; the existing limits for unsupervised use are quite adequate.



Part 4. Trade.



It is a cause of great concern that the Home Office employs someone so stupid that the proposal that gun shop windows should be blacked out ever made it into an official document. Presuming that Mr. Blunkett approved this document for publication one can only question his suitability for the role. This is nonsense.



Turning to more sensible areas of interest:



RFD Servants. As long as RFDs have to provide the police with written notification of their servants’ names, the definition is simply “a person declared by the RFD to be his/her servant whose name has been notified to the police.”

This could be done but it won’t have any impact on armed crime.



Mail order, Internet sales.

If there is a problem with the illegal sale and import of firearms it is the duty of the Police and Customs & Excise to enforce the law. Criminals by definition are not constrained by additional legislation.


Newspaper and telephone sales

It is not at all clear what is meant by this passage. If the intention is to stop lawful owners advertising firearms for sale in the press or discussing such a sale with someone over the telephone one can only wonder what it is hoped will be achieved.



Mail order deliveries.

As long as couriers etc. obey the law there should be no problem. If they do not obey the law it is a matter for the police. No further restrictions are necessary.





Part 5. Ammunition.



Shotgun cartridges. No further restrictions need to be applied. If police forces were required to record every round of shotgun ammunition purchased by each of the half a million shotgun users in the country in addition to each round of ammunition that every firearm holder buys they will grind to a halt. The purpose of this consultation is stated in the foreword to be “to minimise bureaucracy for those who enforce the law” and not “to impose unnecessary burdens on those who possess and use guns lawfully”. This proposal fails on both counts and will not reduce armed crime.



Component parts of ammunition.

Requiring primers to be held on firearm certificates will add a huge burden to lawful shooters and a vast amount of paperwork for Licensing departments. No further legislation is required. Effective Police work will stop illegal manufacture of ammunition if it is carried out at all.



Expanding ammunition

There was never anything to be gained by banning expanding ammunition. The fact that anyone shooting deer, foxes or ground game is permitted to have it without any risk to public safety is a good indication that there is no problem. The prohibition should be removed completely for use at home and overseas.



Part 6. Other issues.



Miniature rifle ranges.

Miniature rifle ranges hardly pose a threat to the safety of the general public. As long as the operator is not prohibited from possessing firearms there is no real cause for concern. No change is required.



Borrowing of firearms on private premises.

A general exemption allowing Firearm and shotgun certificate holders to lend firearms and shotguns to others for use in the holder’s presence on land where they have permission to shoot should be made. It could be drafted very simply and would remove some of the present ambiguity.



Other Exemptions.

There is no evidence that the current exemptions pose a threat to the public.



Target shooting clubs.



Club Criteria. There is nothing to be gained by adding further restrictions.

Target shooting locations. Lawful target shooting on private ranges has no connection with armed crime and should be allowed to continue.

Target shooting disciplines. The purpose of this consultation is stated in the foreword to be “to minimise bureaucracy for those who enforce the law” and not “to impose unnecessary burdens on those who possess and use guns lawfully”. This proposal fails on both counts and will not reduce armed crime.









Summary:

The purpose of this consultation is stated in the foreword to be “to minimise bureaucracy for those who enforce the law” and not “to impose unnecessary burdens on those who possess and use guns lawfully”. Practically every proposal included fails to satisfy these criteria. Furthermore, there are no proposals to actually tackle armed crime.

The drug dealers in Nottingham and Birmingham with their machine guns and pistols, the armed robbers in London and every provincial city with their handguns and balaclavas must be laughing themselves silly at the Police running in circles to keep up with firearms administration and the Government banning air pistols and wondering how many cartridges a grouse shooter should be allowed.

Armed crime is a serious business - the consultation document does nothing to address the problem.







(EX_STAB).

30 August 2004.

Whether this will be looked at I have no idea. Like I say, I'm not holding my breath.
 
#5
Nice work EX_STAB

Intrigued what the source of this rumour was or who the MP was, but of course you will want to keep your cards hidden.
 
#6
That was an interesting read, well thought out, logical, could be beneficial to shooters of both camps.

Therefore of course whoever's desk it lands on will duly consign it to the bin.
 
#7
A bit abour Regulatory reform orders

http://www.parliament.uk/parliament...reform_committee/regulatory_reform_orders.cfm

The Act

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2006/pdf/ukpga_20060051_en.pdf

What the Guardian has to say about the act.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentis...16/legislative-and-regulatory-reform-act-2006

Replaces the powers granted in the Regulatory Reform Act 2001 to make Regulatory Reform Orders. RROs are a legislative vehicle for amending primary legislation by ministerial order, without the need for parliamentary debate or the creation of new primary legislation (an act of parliament).
 
#8
So a Minister could ammend an act but not repeal it.

The plans for the hunting with dogs act is to try for a repeal. This will entail a back bencher submitting a private members bill which will be open for a free vote.

ACPO were considering asking for a RRO which would have included

http://www.dorset.police.uk/pdf/FELWG_Minutes_13 May2009.pdf

5.5 e) Proposal for reforms to firearms legislation using

Regulatory Reform Order

Members considered the areas put forward as being suitable for reform and agreed them all except the one proposing amendment to section 44 of the Firearms Act to allow appeals against conditions specified by a Chief Officer of Police.

FELWG sees this as being very much tied in with a provision to suspend certificates which was rejected by practitioners.

Without that balance, FELWG feels both must be withdrawn to prevent overall failure of the RRO.

It was also noted that the second one as listed should read

“amend section 5(1)(ab) of the Firearms Act to also except calibres less that .22 rim fire from prohibition.”

The Chair will now prepare a proposal for the Home Office to also include an indication of the order of priority.

It was withdrawn but does it look like there was a proposal to allow pistols under .22rimfire
 
#9
Smokeless_Coal said:
“amend section 5(1)(ab) of the Firearms Act to also except calibres less that .22 rim fire from prohibition.”
That is the part of the 1988 Act that put Self-Loading Rifles, other than .22 Rimfire, into Section 5. I suspect that idea is to address the anomaly that because of the way the Act is worded, .22 Rimfire SLRs are Section 1 but .17 SLRs are Section 5.
 
#10
No section 5 (1) a and b refers to pistols.

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/Acts/acts1997/pdf/ukpga_19970064_en.pdf

In paragraph (aba) of section 5(1) of the [1968 c. 27.] Firearms Act 1968 (which describes a category of prohibited weapons consisting of all firearms less than 30 cm. in barrel length or 60 cm. in overall length, other than specified kinds of firearm) the words “a small-calibre pistol” shall cease to have effect.

Theres some nice pistols that use the 17M2 round, same size as a 22lr round but necked down to 17.

But ACPO took that bit off the RRO, shame.

Just had another look, you could be right.


Prohibited weapons and ammunition .(1)
Section 5 of the [1968 c. 27.] Firearms Act 1968 (in this Act referred to as “the principal Act”) shall have effect with the following amendments the purpose of which is to extend the class of prohibited weapons and ammunition, that is to say weapons and ammunition the possession, purchase, acquisition, manufacture, sale or transfer of which requires the authority of the Secretary of State. .
(2)
For paragraph (a) of subsection (1) there shall be substituted— .
“(a)
any firearm which is so designed or adapted that two or more missiles can be successively discharged without repeated pressure on the trigger; .
(ab)
any self-loading or pump-action rifle other than one which is chambered for .22 rim-fire cartridges; .
(ac)
any self-loading or pump-action smooth-bore gun which is not chambered for .22 rim-fire cartridges and either has a barrel less than 24 inches in length or (excluding any detachable, folding, retractable or other movable butt-stock) is less than 40 inches in length overall; .
(ad)
any smooth-bore revolver gun other than one which is chambered for 9mm. rim-fire cartridges or loaded at the muzzle end of each chamber; .
(ae)
any rocket launcher, or any mortar, for projecting a stabilised missile, other than a launcher or mortar designed for line-throwing or pyrotechnic purposes or as signalling apparatus;”.
 
#11
stoatman said:
I have just heard the rumour that the government wishes to force through devolution of firearms laws to the Scottish parliament before they are ousted next year, which would almost inevitably result in an attempt at air-gun licensing and extra controls on stalkers.

The rumour goes further to suggest that airgun controls would then be spread south of the border following their immediate "success".

Anyone else heard this rumour, and if true, could it be achieved in the time remaining?
Stoatman, what extra stalking controls have been rumoured? Thankls Sanchauk
 
#12
sanchauk said:
stoatman said:
I have just heard the rumour that the government wishes to force through devolution of firearms laws to the Scottish parliament before they are ousted next year, which would almost inevitably result in an attempt at air-gun licensing and extra controls on stalkers.

The rumour goes further to suggest that airgun controls would then be spread south of the border following their immediate "success".

Anyone else heard this rumour, and if true, could it be achieved in the time remaining?
Stoatman, what extra stalking controls have been rumoured? Thankls Sanchauk
The ones reported by BASC involved only locally licensed, trained persons being allowed to engage in stalking, in practice the rules would prohibit visiting recreational stalkers.

http://www.basc.org.uk/en/media/key_issues.cfm/cid/6C6AE3E3-EAC2-4C60-8BC2779C631C16A0
 
#14
If this happens it will, yet again allow the so called Scottish Parliament (mickey mouse one that is) try to lead the way and royally **** up legislation for purely gathering a few votes from the 'anti shooting lobby'.

As an example although not solely firearms but shooting related, the Scottish government managed to obtain a total tail docking ban a couple years ago north of the border without exemption, although I thought the BASC was trying to have this reversed for working dogs as it is south of the border.

That irritating snivelling little individual Alex Salmond wants to spend more time in his constituency (which has a fair amount of shooters) than gobbing off about things he knows nothing about. He was on local radio the other month talking about airgun bans/licensing etc even though everyone knows it would be nigh on impossible.

The mind boggles. I hope for the sake of shooting sports/wildlife management and land owners this doesn't go ahead.
 
#15
Mick9abf said:
If this happens it will, yet again allow the so called Scottish Parliament (mickey mouse one that is) try to lead the way and royally **** up legislation for purely gathering a few votes from the 'anti shooting lobby'.

As an example although not solely firearms but shooting related, the Scottish government managed to obtain a total tail docking ban a couple years ago north of the border without exemption, although I thought the BASC was trying to have this reversed for working dogs as it is south of the border.

That irritating snivelling little individual Alex Salmond wants to spend more time in his constituency (which has a fair amount of shooters) than gobbing off about things he knows nothing about. He was on local radio the other month talking about airgun bans/licensing etc even though everyone knows it would be nigh on impossible.

The mind boggles. I hope for the sake of shooting sports/wildlife management and land owners this doesn't go ahead.
Methinks happy alec would, if you pardon the pun, be shooting himself in the hoof. The SNP have quite a lot of support in the rural areas, the very areas that would suffer the most should it become difficult for visiting sportsmen to stalk. The SNP will meddle with this one at their peril.
 
#16
Smokeless_Coal said:
No section 5 (1) a and b refers to pistols.


(ab)
any self-loading or pump-action rifle other than one which is chambered for .22 rim-fire cartridges; .
Forgive me but the reference was to: Section 5(1) (ab) - which you have quoted.
 
#18
EX_STAB said:
sanchauk said:
stoatman said:
I have just heard the rumour that the government wishes to force through devolution of firearms laws to the Scottish parliament before they are ousted next year, which would almost inevitably result in an attempt at air-gun licensing and extra controls on stalkers.

The rumour goes further to suggest that airgun controls would then be spread south of the border following their immediate "success".

Anyone else heard this rumour, and if true, could it be achieved in the time remaining?
Stoatman, what extra stalking controls have been rumoured? Thankls Sanchauk
The ones reported by BASC involved only locally licensed, trained persons being allowed to engage in stalking, in practice the rules would prohibit visiting recreational stalkers.

http://www.basc.org.uk/en/media/key_issues.cfm/cid/6C6AE3E3-EAC2-4C60-8BC2779C631C16A0
I can't help but think that the industry surrounding stalking is somewhat to blame for this situation occuring. There is quite a business around DSC 1 & 2. Where there is a "voluntary" training scheme in place it doesn't take long before it becomes defacto. Sorry chum no stalking if you don't have your DSC 1 etc etc. I'd bet the loudest voices behind closed doors for mandatory training are those with a vested interest.
 

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