Here is the updated position from the NRA on the HO proposals. Notice they have substantially widened the scope of the ban while in true HO terms made the terms so vague that even B/P pistols could be caught in the net.
From the NRA
Update – Home Office Consultation – “Offensive Weapons”
We have recently received further clarification on the Home Office proposals to prohibit two types of firearms (.50 calibre and VZ58 MARS) which included the following details:-
(1) The .50 calibre proposals have been extended to include “other similar high power, long range rifles”; furthermore in an attempt to differentiate between ‘anti-materiel’ type firearms and those used for sporting purposes the Home Office are contemplating imposing a 10,000ft lbs muzzle energy limit.
(2) The VZ58 MARS proposals have been extended to include any “rapid firing rifles” that “employs a Manually Actuated Release System capable of achieving a similar rate of fire”; they have confirmed that their proposals do not extend to self-loading rifles chambered for .22 rimfire cartridges. The Home Office has not provided a definitive description of Manually Actuated Release System so we do not understand precisely which rifles are at risk of prohibition.
These clarifications fundamentally change the terms of the Public Consultation which clearly stated the Government proposals were to solely prohibit the ownership of:-
(1) “.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’) “ and
(2) “ rapid firing rifles, such as the VZ 58 Manually Actuated Release System (MARS) rifle…because a second pull of the trigger is required to discharge a round”.
The current wording of the Consultation and Impact Assessment could be seen as an attempt to mislead the public; furthermore they have been presented without any credible supporting evidence of threat to public safety. This is a direct consequence of launching such proposals without prior engagement with shooting organisations;
We believe these changes to the scope of firearms proposals means that Consultation is fundamentally flawed and should be abandoned or re-issued as a separate document, with full details of what is proposed and an accurate re-working of the Impact Assessment.
Once again I urge all NRA members and friends in the shooting community to register your concerns with the Home Office by 9th December 2017 directly by email to Offensive.Weapons.Consultation@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk; you may wish to copy your local MP. These proposals may appear to present distant threats to your own type of shooting; however they have been poorly presented, are not evidence based and, if left unchallenged, will leave a dangerous legacy for the shooting community. When drafting any firearms legislation a primary consideration must be to ensure that the scope of its application is clear and the rules are consistent, so that the honest citizen is not left at the mercy of inconsistent application of the law
It is worth remembering that this is not a dry and impersonal matter; please read the message I recently received below from a concerned NRA member.
“This disability has had a profound effect on my life. It has cut me off and isolated me from my old life. So four years ago I joined my local shooting club, partly to give me a reason to get out of the house and mix with others, but also to reconnect with a sport I had competed in at school. I was blessed in that my local club is a very encouraging and enthusiastic place, covering many shooting disciplines.
Once I’d gained my firearms certificate, a year after joining the club; I decided to look for my first fullbore rifle. It became clear through discussion with senior club members that the MARS action rifle would be ideal for me given my disability.
My parents, realising the positive effect target shooting was having on me, purchased a .223 calibre rifle for me. That was over two years ago and to this day, it remains my only fullbore rifle, which I shoot as often as my disability allows me. It’s a pleasure to use and allows me to shoot without breaking my grip, something that would be impossible for me to do with off hand shooting, even seated off hand shooting and very difficult for me when bench rest shooting.
The MARS action is a mechanism I use to allow me to accurately shoot a rifle at target. Like the walking stick I use in busy places or the stool I sit on in my shower, it plays an all important part in allowing me to carry on doing things I need and/or want to do.
I would really like to be able to carry on using my MARS action rifle. I would not stop shooting, I would just stop fullbore shooting and going to Bisley. I think that would not only be a great shame, but also unfair.
I am practical and pragmatic in my response to my disability. The MARS action rifle is my response to that approach and works very well for me.
ALSO – Please note the following notes on Lead in Ammunition European Directive