BASC has written to a number of national newspapers to set the record straight on .50 calibre target rifles.

Articles appeared over the weekend after it was announced that the government was planning to pull a proposed ban on .50 calibre rifles for further consultation. The articles confused civilian target rifles and military weapons.

MPs have now voted to back an amendment tabled by Home Secretary Sajid Javid MP to remove the proposal from the Offensive Weapons Bill and the government will consult further on the issues around the use of high muzzle energy rifles. 

Christopher Graffius, BASC’s executive director of communications and public affairs, said: “Where we see misinformation, we work to set the record straight. We wrote to a number of national newspapers to clarify the facts. These guns are not military grade guns. There appears to be confusion between civilian target rifles and military weapons.

“Virtually all rifle calibres used in shooting sports have military origins but the civilian versions are significantly different from those used by the armed forces. A military belt-fed heavy machine gun firing explosive or armour piercing rounds, which is illegal for civilian use, can immobilise a light or medium-size vehicle at 1,800 metres.

“That feat is not possible for a single shot civilian target rifle used for punching holes in paper targets at 1,000 yards.”

Mr Graffius added: “Firearms legislation must be based on fact rather than myths or scare stories and we welcome the government’s amendments to withdraw the ban for further consultation.”

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