The New Zealand Historic Arms Association has released to UK Shooting News a copy of the letter that NZ shooters used to lobby their MPs into saving their historic .22 No.8 training rifles from destruction.
This is an important letter because – crucially – it worked. It means British shooters have a starting point with which to lobby our own MPs, once the dust has settled from the general election in May.
Full text of the letter follows:
Destruction of New Zealand Cadet Force Training Rifles
I am advised that the New Zealand Cadet Force has or is in the process
of returning their No 8 and No 9 Lee Enfield .22 calibre training rifle
to the Army for destruction.
The Lee Enfield was first introduced into military service in the 1890s
and is still used by some nations today. In New Zealand there are a
large number of licensed firearm owners who shoot and collect these
rifles. The No 8 and No 9 .22 calibre training rifles were first
introduced in the 1950s, to provide an economical firearm for training
service personnel and cadets to shoot accurately. Many New Zealanders
will have learned to shoot with these rifles as school cadets or as army
The Lee Enfield rifle has served New Zealand since 1900 and these No 8
and No 9 Training Rifles are an important part of our military and
national heritage. In addition these rifles have a significant value to
collectors of Lee Enfield rifles.
Since they do not pose any threat to national security or public safety,
I urge you use your influence to prevent the destruction of these
historically valuable rifles and allow them to be released to the
UKSN is of the view that directly lobbying MPs, rather than the discredited tactic of petitions, is the best way for British shooters and shooting organisations to help preserve such an important part of our national shooting heritage for future generations to enjoy.
Perhaps a body such as the NSRA or the HBSA could get behind a formal campaign?