Here are some 50 cal notes on the consultation and fund raising from Peter.
The following email is just a ‘heads up’. It does not contain details of our response to the Home Office, it doesn’t not contain all our thoughts, options or recommendations. These will be formulated and distributed over the next few days.
Before I go on, I should point out that if you have received this email then please be aware that I’ve sent it to you, and not the whole internet. It contains fairly sensitive information and is for club members. I do not expect someone to cut and paste the entire email onto every internet forum they can find, without permission.
Because of the blatant abuse of the previous email I sent out regarding the consultation, I now dare not go into the level of detail that I would like to.
The consultation has gone live.
You have the option of submitting a response via the Home Office website, where you will be faced with 10 vague questions, only one of which (question 8) relates to firearms. You can also submit comments and more detailed response by email.
Please visit these web addresses for more information. The closing date is the 9th December 2017. The consultation is part of “Knife, gun and gang CRIME”.
Consultation, page 17: “The Government is proposing to prohibit the ownership of .50 calibre ‘materiel destruction’ rifles of a type developed for use by the military to allow for shooting over long distances, for example, to enable sniping at long ranges and in a manner capable of damaging vehicles and other equipment (referred to in military terms as ‘materiel’). They are also designed to penetrate armour worn by soldiers. These rifles are currently used by a small number of civilian target shooters to test their shooting over very long ranges using large calibre firearms, but we consider that the potential range and penetration of these weapons are such that they are a significant risk if they were to fall into the wrong hands. For this reason, we propose that they no longer be allowed for civilian use.”
The supporting Impact assessment document makes interesting, although at times confusing reading.
There are certain points that have caused immediate concern for our members, so I’ll risk mentioning them here rather than respond to 50 separate emails.
1. There is a claim that only 64 .50 calibre rifles are in the hands of individuals**. We have good reason to believe that this figure is inaccurate. The compensation pay-out estimate has been based on 64 rifles.
2. There is no mention of 10,000 ft/lbs and rifles beyond this muzzle energy. So this leaves an obvious future problem for the law makers. Please beware, it may be best that we respond to the exact wording of the consultation and do not open a can of worms. I will take advice from the NRA and BASC on this, and will forward their comments for your consideration.
3. There are concerns over the .50 calibre ‘anti material’ round being able to penetrate police body armour, and deliver a projectile over several miles. It is no secret that most body armour is ineffective against most high velocity standard FMJ rifle projectiles. There are much smaller rounds that a technically better performers at distance than the archaic 50 cal. Again, this is a delicate subject as it puts all rifle calibres at risk. As said before on numerous occasions, we do not buy or use anti material ammunition, even if it was available it’s just not an accurate target round.
It is clear that the Home Office has had no technical guidance on this matter. The consultation documents contain inaccuracies, myths and loop holes galore.
I should briefly point out that my previous email focussed almost entirely on our primary concern, that of large calibre target shooting. This does not mean that we will not defend the MARS and other lever release firearms, as many of our members use these rifles, both at our range bookings, and at CSR events and similar. However I’m hoping that one of the MANY other clubs that specialise in these particular firearms takes the lead on MARS rifles. Regardless, we will be defending our right to also retain these firearms for legitimate competitive and sporting purposes.
Right now there is plenty for us to absorb, and I will be speaking to the NRA again in the next couple of days. As soon as I have done this I will send out a further email that lists points that are in our vested interest to raise in defence of our sport, and points that we probably should not raise as they may further damage our particular speciality. We may need to take legal advice, if we can afford it.
Chairman, FCSA (UK)