BASC is seeking clarification from the government following the announcement of a public consultation on “offensive weapons”.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced that among the proposals on which the government will consult are restrictions on the online sales of knives and the transfer of two firearms (.50 calibre and “certain rapid firing rifles”) from the general licensing arrangements to the stricter provisions of section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968.
While the UK’s largest shooting organisation welcomes efforts to tackle crime, it cautions against measures which may not be evidence-based, comply with the principles of better regulation and may impose unintended consequences on legitimate traders or end users.
Bill Harriman, BASC’s director of firearms, said: “The details of this consultation have not yet been released, but BASC is seeking clarification from government as a matter of urgency.
“BASC will ensure that the views of its members will be represented as part of the consultation process. We will continue to challenge proposals for changes in legislation if we believe they are incorrectly targeted or will be ineffective.
“BASC will hold the government to account and demand that any proposals to change legislation are proportionate and evidence led. While we will be supportive of measures which tackle crime, it is important that legislative changes are not made as a knee-jerk response.”
BASC is approaching government to clarify proposals for .50 calibre and rapid firing rifles.
Mr Harriman added: “The ability of terrorists or criminals to acquire .50cal rifles is insignificant. These have been possessed lawfully without incident. The current wording around proposals for certain rapid firing rifles are too vague to allow a detailed response at this stage.”
The Home Office has also announced it will consult on proposals to restrict the online sale of knives so they cannot be delivered to a private residential address and must instead be collected at a place where age ID can be checked.
Mr Harriman added: “Banning the delivery of bladed items by mail order may be detrimental to the legitimate knife trade and end users. It would, for example, likely cause immense difficulties for those who make a legitimate living from hand-crafting niche hunting knives to sell them online.
“Such legislation may not meet the regulatory proportionality test or have a demonstrable effect on criminality. And it would do nothing to stop people using kitchen knives to commit crimes.”