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BASC and other shooting organisations have welcomed amendments tabled by the government to the Offensive Weapons Bill which remove the proposed ban on 50 calibre rifles.

The government has said that it will consult further on the issues around the use of high muzzle energy rifles.

The Home Office decision follows discussions with Sir Geoffrey Clifton Brown MP, the chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Shooting and Conservation and Jonathan Djanogly MP, the chairman of the British Shooting Sports Council (BSSC).

Seventy-four Conservative and DUP MPs had signed an amendment to remove the proopsed prohibition on .50 cals and instead place clauses into the Bill which would ensure those who own the guns implement tighter security.

Shooting organisations including BASC,  NRA UK and the .50 Calibre Association worked together to brief MPs on the issues. The organisations clarified confusion among government advisors between .50 calibre single-shot target rifles and belt-fed heavy machine guns.

BASC has advised the Home Office and lobbied ministers on the issue, given evidence to the Bill committee and rallied members in support of Sir Geoffrey’s amendment.

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP said: “I welcome the government’s decision. It is essential that legislation should be proportionate, based on the facts and consulted on with stakeholders. The Home Secretary is right to announce further consultations and has my full support for securing an evidence-based result on this and other firearms issues.”

Christopher Graffius, BASC’s executive director of communications and public affairs, said: “I would like to thank the MPs as well as members of shooting associations who took the time to contact their MPs and supported our work in parliament on this issue. We look forward to a constructive consultation and a sensible result.”

Chris Stevenson, chairman of the .50 Calibre Association said: “This is a fantastic decision by the Home Office for all who shoot in the UK irrespective of calibre. We have further work to do and are more than happy to work with the Home Office in developing good law for our sport.”

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