Home Office firearms safety consultation

BASC is urging all its members to spend 5 minutes responding to a Home Office firearms consultation that covers airguns, ammunition components, high muzzle energy rifles and miniature rifle ranges in England, Wales and Scotland.

To ensure that a consistent message is received by government BASC, working together with the Fifty Calibre Shooting Association, the National Smallbore Rifle Association and the British Shooting Sports Council, has compiled a list of suggested responses to the Home Office 5 minutes online survey which closes on 16 February 2021.

Suggested response to the Home Office online survey

Click here to begin the 5 minutes Home Office online survey.

Use the suggested responses below when completing the Home Office online survey.

1. To what extent do you consider that the present level 3 security requirements, if specified in rules made by the Secretary of State, would be sufficient to mitigate the risks posed by high muzzle energy rifles?

Strongly agree.

2. If you do not consider level 3 security would adequately address the risks, to what extent do you consider that the following additional security conditions could be relevant to the safe storage and use of these rifles?

There is no need to respond to Q.2. due to your previous answer.

3. To what extent would it be preferable/viable to require these rifles to be stored only at a gun club?

Strongly disagree.

4. To what extent would it be preferable/viable to require these rifles to be stored only by a registered firearms dealer?

Strongly disagree.

5. Any other comments on these proposals for additional security measures for high muzzle-energy rifles, including any comments on the costs and assumptions used in the impact assessment and any costs not included? (max 250 words).

The security arrangements for high muzzle-energy rifles have already been inspected and approved by Firearms Licensing Departments. There is no need for change.

6. To what extent do you agree that the Government should remove the exception that permits unsupervised possession of air weapons by under 18s on private land?

Strongly disagree.

7. To what extent do you agree that the Government should clarify the offence of failing to take ‘reasonable precautions’ to prevent minors from having air weapons so that whenever under-18s are on the premises, ‘reasonable precautions’ must include locking the air weapon out of sight when not in use and storing the ammunition separately?

Strongly agree.

8. To what extent do you agree that the Government should work with industry to improve the safe keeping and handling of air weapons, to ensure that home security devices are supplied with all new air weapons; and that dealers should explain the importance of secure handling and storage to purchasers of new air weapons at the point of sale?

Agree.

9. Any other comments on these proposals to strengthen air weapon regulation, including any comments on the costs and assumptions used in the impact assessment and any costs not included?

No case has been made out to strengthen air weapons regulations.

10. To what extent do you agree that a person should be required to obtain a firearm certificate in order to operate a miniature rifle range?

Agree.

11. To what extent do you agree that only rifles not exceeding .22 rimfire should be considered as miniature rifles for the purposes of the provision?

Agree.

12. To what extent do you agree that self-loading .22 rimfire rifles should not be considered miniature rifles for the purposes of the provision?

Strongly disagree.

13. Any other comments on these proposals for strengthening controls on miniature rifle ranges, including any comments on the costs and assumptions used in the impact assessment and any costs not included?

The risk assessment is incorrect when it says there is a risk that a rogue operator of a miniature rifle range could sell their firearms on the black market following the legislative change, because there is no legal means for them to sell the firearms. Operators who choose not to apply for a firearm certificate can sell them to registered firearms dealers or existing certificate holders with an open authority to acquire the rifle(s).

14. To what extent do you consider that the possession of component parts of ammunition with intent to manufacture unauthorised quantities of complete rounds of ammunition should be made an offence?

Agree.

15. Any other comments on the control of component parts of ammunition, including any comments on the costs and assumptions used in the impact assessment and any costs not included?

In principle, I support the proposal to create the new offence of possessing all the components of ammunition with intent to assemble unauthorised complete cartridges. The Home Office Guide on Firearms Licensing should be amended to recognise those categories of person who might routinely possess ammunition components e.g., re-enactors, militaria collectors and others.