A final attempt to reinsert the ban on .50 calibre rifles in the Offensive Weapons Bill came to an end in the House of Lords yesterday.

A Labour amendment to put the ban back in the Bill was withdrawn. BASC, which had lobbied all political parties in the Lords and briefed Peers welcomed the outcome.

The government gave an assurance that a consultation on high muzzle energy rifles will be launched during the next summer recess.

The Home Office decision last November to pull the ban on high muzzle energy rifles from the Bill followed discussions between BASC, 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).

After a campaign in the Commons, seventy-four Conservative and DUP MPs signed an amendment tabled by Sir Geoffrey to remove the proposed prohibition.

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

Christopher Graffius, BASC’s executive director of communications and public affairs, said: “The proposed ban on .50 calibre rifles was never evidence based and the advice to Ministers was scaremongering and wildly exaggerated.

Commonsense has won for now, thanks to backbench MPs who support shooting. We now need to ensure that the consultation produces a sensible, evidence-based result”.

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