SOSP&RC Newsletter

Stourport On Severn Pistol & Rifle Club Newsletter 

M L A G B Newsletter

Welcome to the MLAGB December 2017 Newsletter

Welcome to December, and Christmas is almost upon us. A long newsletter this month, but please do read down the articles as many of them affect - or potentially affect - your sport.

Some serious issues are going on in the firearms licensing world right now, and even if you dont shoot the sort of guns being discussed this is seen as the start of a move to apply even more stringent controls on privately held firearms.  There is further information in 2 articles below.

Here is an article Damascus barrels.

Coming soon to your favourite club? 

For turning targets for muzzle loaders. Please note –No R.O. but then, no danger area of 50 miles and probably no other restrictions of any sort either

Cheers Chris

Dear Secretary,

Notice from the NRA: Final Chance to Respond - Home Office Consultation – “Offensive Weapons”

The deadline to register objections to the proposed legislation is looming and I would be grateful if you could share this email to encourage your fellow club members to respond. The deadline to register your objections to Home Office proposals to ban .50 calibre and MARS rifles is 9th December 2017; please send your reply by email to Offensive.Weapons.Consultation@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk with copy to your local MP.

The current wording of the Consultation and Impact Assessment could be seen as an attempt to mislead the public; furthermore they have been presented without any credible supporting evidence of threat to public safety. This is a direct consequence of launching such proposals without prior engagement with shooting organisations.

We believe these changes to the scope of firearms proposals means that Consultation is fundamentally flawed and should be abandoned or re-issued as a separate document, with full details of what is proposed and an accurate re-working of the Impact Assessment.

To see the NRA’s full response click here.

For the full Consultation and Impact Assessment https://tinyurl.com/yda7m3m2

These proposals may appear to present distant threats to your own type of shooting; however they have been poorly presented, are not evidence based and, if left unchallenged, will leave a dangerous legacy for the shooting community.

Andrew Mercer
Group Chief Executive & Secretary General



FOR SALE

  1. 2 x Semi Automatic rifles for sale
  2.    -   1 x Remington .22
  3.    -   1 x Webley & Scott .22

Sale can include cases, breech flags, spare magazine for the W&S, telescopic sights and secure cabinet fit for both weapons. Perfect 'starter pack' for 2 people wishing to begin target or small game shooting.  Bought new approx 18 months ago, perfect working order, all equipment has been well maintained and is in good condition. Price on request, private or club sale, please contact myself or my wife for more details.

Contacts are as follows:

Simon Parker 07588131393

sp.giles80@gmail.com

Zoe Parker 07837497308

littlemadam001@yahoo.co.uk 

UKPSA Winter Postal

The UKPSA Winter Postal is a competition shot over multiple stages.  We usually aim to complete this in one day to ensure everyone who enters can complete the course of fire.  We will be shooting Shotgun and LBF.  Action Air will not be shot at Stourport due to the cold weather, but we have the facility to shoot at a nearby club if anyone is interested.  Gun and equipment hire is available if you do not have your own and wish to try this discipline.

If you are interested in shooting any of these you need to email sprcpractical@gmail.com to register your interest.


Newsletter extra: This space is reserved for additional news regarding target shooting sports in the U.K.

NOTICE FROM THE NRA

Dear Member

Home Office Consultation – “Offensive Weapons”

The Home Office has published a consultation seeking views on proposals to prohibit two types of firearms (.50 calibre and VZ58 MARS) that in their view have the “potential for serious misuse and loss of life”. The supporting documents make a number of unsubstantiated statements including:-

(1) .50 calibre in civilian hands is capable of ‘materiel’ destruction with rounds capable of penetrating body armour and damaging vehicles. However, these specific uses are associated with Armour Piercing ammunition which is prohibited for civilian use

(2) MARS rifles, through their faster rate of fire compared to a conventional bolt action rifle, are close in performance to semi-automatic rifles. We understand tests prove semi-automatic rifles can achieve rates of firing significantly greater than MARS rifles.

The Home Office document attempts to justify the proposed prohibition because of the risks of these particular firearms falling into the wrong hands. This defies logic because:-

(1) If the National Crime Agency or others have specific intelligence that a particular threat exists to a certain section of the shooting community they should alert those certificate holders (and shooting organisations) to the need to upgrade / change their security arrangements.

(2) Neither .50 calibre or MARS rifles from legal private sources have ever, to our knowledge, been used in any criminal act.

(3) Both rifles are so few in number (estimated 464 out of 326,000 held under certificate in England and Wales) that the benefits of removing them from the stock of licensed firearms is nil by any reasonable measure.

(4) The vast majority of owners of .50 calibre and MARS rifles own other firearms; if they were removed these owners would still possess their remaining firearms

.50 calibre shooting is proper target shooting enjoyed by a small group of passionate and responsible shooters. Their FAC applications for such firearms are carefully scrutinised and shooting restricted to a small number of ranges across the UK.

MARS firearms are popular with older and disabled shooters; the particular adaption to reloading make them suitable for those with missing limbs and limited functionality.

The proposals appear to be an attack on the ownership of two types of firearms on the “we don’t like it so we will ban it” basis. This must be resisted with all vigour and the shooting community must hold the Home Office to account to justify their proposals. UK Firearms legislation has, by the Home Office’s own statistics, made criminal and terrorist use of legally held firearms very rare. The fact that recent terrorist attacks featured hire vans, kitchen knives and home-made explosives as the weapons of choice for those with evil intent is testament to the rigour and effectiveness of police firearms licensing staff.

The government has in the past sought to change firearms legislation in response to a terrible event. These proposals break new ground in that the government is proposing to impose further restrictions on the shooting community because of what it thinks might happen when there is no evidence that any new risks exist.

High performance sports cars are not prohibited because they are capable of greatly exceeding the speed limits; laws exist to punish those drivers that do. The proposed prohibitions of .50 calibre and MARS firearms are both unjustified and unfair.

I urge all NRA members and friends in the shooting community to register your concerns with the Home Office by 9th December 2017; follow https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/offens... Comments can be made directly by email to https://tinyurl.com/ya6fuhaf  and you may wish to copy your local MP. http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps...This is not a worthless exercise; the response from the shooting community to the last consultation (Home Office Approved Club Fees) yielded nearly 5,000 responses and has prompted a fundamental ongoing review by the Home Office.

Register your views; you may well not be personally affected by these proposals but if not challenged they risk creating a dangerous precedent for every member of the law abiding and responsible shooting community.

Andrew Mercer -  Group Chief Executive & Secretary General

Important Information re your Firearms License:

As you have probably noticed the legal firearms users in this Country are under attack from our elected Government once again, only this time there is no evidence to support this attack.

The current proposal is to ban the civilian use and ownership of .50 cal rifles and ban the use ownership of M.A.R.S and Lever Release rifles in whatever calibre as well as banning any rifle with a muzzle energy exceeding 10,000 ft/lbs.

The “impact assessment” document which includes the “evidence base” can be found here; https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploa... 

The consultation document can be found here; https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploa... 

All shooters, of all disciplines, should write to their M.P. to voice concern and dismay that such an action is being considered without any evidence of the use by any of these type of legally held firearms being used in any criminal or terrorist act in this Country. And that this proposal must be disregarded.

The current financial climate also rails against what would be an expensive act with the very heavy remuneration costs and whilst this may be seen as a very small drop in the Governments finances it could be seen as a total waste of money that could be better used in the current tabloid favourite institution the N.H.S.

Whilst this may be seen not to be of great benefit to anyone who does not shoot a M.A.R.S. rifles or .50 cal, but Lever Release rifles are also at risk, and if this goes through with minimal or no evidence, this opens the flood gates to attack all forms of shooting. We must fight this because to not do anything just shows all shooters as easy prey for future restrictions in legal firearm ownership.

You can find your local M.P. address details here; http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-your... 

And whilst it may be very tempting to e-mail them you will get a far better and prompt response if you actually put pen to paper and send them a letter, please be polite and do not in anyway threaten with things like “I won’t vote for you next time” as this tends to then get ignored. A short, reasoned argument is by far the best way. We are not providing template letters as these will just be ignored.

Please do not procrastinate but write to your M.P. as so far we have lost Semi Auto Full Bore Rifles and all types of Handguns due to criminal acts with legally held firearms. This time there has been no offence yet we are still being targeted so the need to stand up and be counted is paramount.

To do nothing isn’t an option if you value your sport.

ROY SMITH rlsworcs@yahoo.co.uk 

Report on West Mercia & Warwickshire Firearms & Explosives Licencing Independent Advisory Group Meeting on 23rd November 2017 27th July 2017.

Long Barrel Pistols I advised after the last meeting in July that it was illegal to loan or let anyone use a long barrel pistol not on their licence. I had asked for clarification as – like much firearms legislation – it was an anomaly. In short, do not expect any changes. As stated previously:- It is illegal for long barrelled revolvers (or any long barrelled pistol) to be borrowed at a range for use by any other club member. If you own a long barrelled pistol only you can use it! Licencing Very pleased to report that processing of renewals and new applications has reduced from the backlog of 7,400 to a 1,000 which represents a maximum waiting time of 3 months. Therefore, get your renewals in promptly you receive your renewal notice. No new temporary permits are now required. In fairness, this has been a good turnaround, let us hope it continues. One development is that due to very wide fluctuations in the numbers of various applications per year, 2017 being a “high” year, shotgun certificate holders applying for renewals are being asked over the next few months if they will take a shorter period for their licence from the normal 5 years to 3 or 4 (at pro-rata fees) to smooth things out for future years. If there are not sufficient takers, they are to move on to firearms licence holders. If they do, I see problems for coterminous licences. The Warwickshire / West Mercia licencing web-site is continuing to improve. Any changes or additions are being notified to Clubs and Dealers via email, therefore we should all get notifications early. They are trying to set up a forum for Clubs and Dealers to comment, which is very proactive for them! Can only be useful if it works. They have promised to have on-line licence renewal applications and payments working by August 2018. Next was the issue of GP letters for renewals. They on line application / renewal forms are to show a full list of illnesses, etc., on their application forms for which a doctors letter is required. Some horror stories were given (not by police) of the situation in Lincolnshire whereby GP’s were stating if their fees were not paid, they would advise police that the applicant was not suitable, i.e. blackmail! This appears to have been stamped on. The Thames Valley GP’s were advising the police that applicants “may or may not be suitable to hold firearms” to remove any associated liability to them in the event of an incident. If anyone is still having problems with licence renewals, please let me know. Offensive Weapons Legislation Consultation There were no comments regarding acid / corrosive materials and knives for this proposal, other than it is badly worded. However, the proposed firearms sections produced a very active debate as follows:-

1. Banning of .50 Cal Weapons The police stated at the meeting that they have “little influence” over legislation, although they have been asked to comment. They said they merely have to implement the law with regards to licencing. 2 The huge anomalies in the proposals were pointed out, particularly as there has been an amendment to “include other similar high powered rifles”. It was pointed out that .50 Cal rifles would include black powder, so would they be banned as well? Black powder rifles can go up to .75 Cal and beyond. Are they going to try to ban heavy sporting game rifles? Other “high power” rifles in other calibres are not defined, although their main concern seems to be the Browning and Barrett M107, one of which was stolen this year. These is can use anti-materiel bullets i.e. armour piercing, expanding and tracer, but I don’t think any licence holder has permission for that ammo! Barrett also do sniper rifles in .338 and .400 Cal which also have effective ranges of 2,000 yards. The .50 Cal is 57 inches long and weighs 28.5 lbs, plus ammo clip of 4.17 lbs. Not exactly easy to cart around for terrorists. It appears they are concerned at terrorists getting their hands on high powered sniper weapons, but I asked how many terrorists have used such weapons for sniping over the past 25 years or so in the UK and Europe – none it appears. Sniping was carried out in Northern Ireland during the troubles, but using different weapons. Terrorists (and to a much lesser extent criminals) have used close quarter weapons in this country and Europe for their atrocities, favourites being AK’s. It is obvious AK’s and similar are relatively easy for terrorists to obtain abroad as they seem to favour auto weapons for maximum destruction. I suggested if they are trying to ban any “high power rifles”, they need to specify a full definition (max 10,000 ft muzzle energy?). Better still to actually specify the individual weapons they want to ban. The ammo situation is already covered. This will not, of course, affect terrorists who will obtain whatever weapons and ammo they want illegally. It is the normal knee jerk reaction to something that has not happened. I suggested – and all non-police persons present considered these to be fair and accurate reasons – for the Public Consultation to be poorly presented, not evidence based and is fatally flawed. The Impact Assessment in the Consultation suggesting only a few would be affected is rubbish, with their estimate of costs way below what they would actually be due to the much higher number of weapons which would actually be banned. It was suggested to the police that this would make a rod for their own back due to lack of proper definition, making it very hard to implement. The Home Office should go back to the drawing board and issue a proper and meaningful Consultation document instead of the current one. There was a certain tacit agreement from the Firearms Dept. that there will be problems in its current form.

2. Manually Actuated Release Systems (MARS) The general opinion was that if the only problem was to ban the VZ58 MARS Rifle, then specify this in the legislation, including the Cal of the weapons. Most such weapons use a double trigger release or trigger and lever for each round fired. Yes they can fire rapidly, but any terrorist or criminal would want to use a fully automatic weapon such as the AK47 or 74 which can be set to single shot with one trigger pull or empty the clip by keeping your finger down giving a rate of fire of 600 rounds per minute. Many of us own an under-lever rifle (explained to the new Superintendent as “the type John Wayne used”) which could come under the definition of MARS, as these fire rapidly. So too, does my semi-auto shotgun. There was no history of any crimes being committed using a licenced MARS rifle in the UK. If there is a genuine problem, spell it out and give something evidence based. Yet again, the Consultation is seriously flawed, as is the Impact Assessment with estimated costs far too low and totally wrong. 3 Proposed Legislation for Antique Firearms I confess to knowing too little about antique firearms and “old” calibre ammo to have given any meaningful contribution. However, I would ask Club members to let me know what they consider to be any flaws in the proposed legislation and I will do my best to pass on constructive information, etc. Overall Please, every member should write to the Home Office and their MP giving the reasons for this Consultation to be poorly worded, presented not evidence based and specify why. If it would help for anyone to receive a copy of this document in Word format to assist, just ask. The proposed legislation if unchallenged will give a dangerous legacy to all shooters.

Sorry for the length of this report, but it is necessary to give as much information as possible.

PLEASE SEE BELOW INFORMATION RE FIREARMS LICENSING

Home Office Consultation - Firearms Licensing Fees 16th February 2017
The Home Office opened a public consultation in regards to the proposed changes to Firearms Licensing Fees. We have set out below various points for you to consider when responding to the consultation which covers proposed fees for Section 5 dealers and carriers, Museums, Olympic and Commonwealth Games shooters (pistol) as well as Approved Shooting Clubs and other licences.
Club Approval fees are proposed to rise from £84 to £1050 for a grant and £900 for a renewal lasting six years. It is vitally important that clubs and individuals respond before the 9th March 2017. There may be insufficient room on the online consultation document for all your comments so we advise you send a covering letter / email if needed. The Consultation Document can be found here and the Impact Assessment can be found here. For best effect, please send a copy of your response to your local MP. Better still, if you have the time and can get an appointment please visit your MP at their surgery to discuss your points.

Points you might like to make (in your own words);

Home Office Approval of clubs claims to be a 'matter of public safety'. If this is the case then the cost should be paid out of the public purse from general taxation. If this argument fails then we should be pressing for inflation based (RPI) increase since the fees were set in 1995. This would lead to an increase from £84 to £152 for a six year approval. We do not accept that shooting in general and un-certified shooters in particular present an increased risk to public safety. Indeed, approved clubs are legally required to inform the Police when an individual first applies to join the club and are generally under one-to-one supervision until they have proved themselves safe and competent. The Home Office has failed to provide any detailed justification for these proposed huge increases. When FAC/SGC fees were being revised last time the Home Office provided a detailed breakdown of the number of minutes different grades of Firearms Enquiry Officers in the police spent on each part of the process of the grant/renewal. They haven't this time which leads to the suspicion that they would struggle to justify their figures. The British Shooting Sports Council has asked the Home Office for this information on behalf of all Shooting Organisations.

Most of the work involved with club approvals is undertaken by the Police. The Home Office no longer send out reminders when club approval is due for renewal (cost saving). They only send a letter requesting payment once the police recommend approval and then send the formal approval document once payment is received. In other words they provide limited administrative support to the process. The Police have a list of questions as part of their enquiries which takes a maximum 20 minutes to answer. In some Police forces where their intelligence databases indicate there are no problems with the club they will deal with the questions by telephone and not carry out a club visit. Clearly the time taken on the above enquiries and the salaries of staff making them cannot justify the proposed fees. Even if the staff costs were trebled to include overheads they still come nowhere near the costs claimed. The Home Office is based in a very expensive part of London for office rental costs, which means higher overheads, although in view of their limited input to the process it is unlikely to make a big difference. The 'Impact Assessment' claims that the police role which involves interviews, possible club visits and report writing, currently costs £69,000 per year while the Home Office costs are claimed to be £596,000 per year for a bit of administrative support. Although limited numbers of licences are granted for Olympic and Commonwealth Games pistol shooters it is proposed that a fee of £470 will be charged for a three year licence. Firstly, the Olympic and Commonwealth Games cycles are each of four years, so a three year licence is of no use and a five year licence would be much more sensible which would bring it into line with normal FAC's.

The shooters are sponsored by British Shooting which limits the need for additional security checks on the individuals involved. There are more rigorous requirements on the storage, transport and use of pistols. None of this adds up to much additional work by the Police or Home Office. In summary please respond to the consultation right away and make sure you do it well before the 9th March deadline. Please also send a copy to your MP. Do not leave it to somebody else, encourage every club member to take part and have your say.

SPRC Newsletter Team