UK police will be able to write and enforce firearms law. We must stop this

7 April 2016 – The Home Office Guidance on Firearms Law is a potent weapon. If proposed changes to the law go through, it will become legally binding – and the police will be able to rewrite it at will without any external input. We need to contact our MPs and stop this dangerous move.

Having been left alone for many years since its inception, the Guidance – available on the government website here – has been updated half a dozen times in the last 6 months alone. Details of those changes are not notified to the public. Notably, the various national associations do not do this either.

Update – the Scottish Association for Country Sports has explained why the shooting associations actually welcome this move.

It is the Home Office Guidance, not the law, which sets out things like having to store your firearms with the bolts removed and in a separate secure location from your cabinet (what do you mean you didn’t know that was a “legal” requirement?), or using your target shooting firearms a minimum of 3 times a year on pain of a partial revocation of your certificate. The threshold was once per year not so long ago.

The Guidance is issued by the Home Office, though in reality it appears that FELWG, the police’s Firearms and Explosives Licensing Working Group, decides on its own what the latest version will say and simply tell the Home Office to publish it. Certainly there’s no hint of a public consultation on any of the changes they make.

The bulk of the guidance is written as a manual for police firearms licensing officers. In reality, both the licensed firearms community and the police use it to find out what the “law” is and how to obey it.

It’s in front of Parliament right now

Hence, in the Policing and Crime Bill before Parliament at the moment, we see that someone has inserted a clause – number 81 –which will make the Guidance legally binding, and puts a duty on the Home Secretary to consult the police (and only the police) before updating it.

(update to add, in light of Nick’s comments below, that this definitely does mean the Home Office Guidance. See page 69 of the Parliamentary briefing paper on the bill, here (PDF))

So what, you say?

We do not – yet – live in a country where the police both write and enforce the rules. Police behaviour over the last few years, along with the accelerating pace of Guidance changes, means ordinary members of the licensed firearms community can no longer be certain they are following the “law” as written, or its latest interpretation. We need transparency and, crucially, accountability from the people who write the rules we must obey.

If FELWG decides that you must use each of your firearms 6 times a year instead of 3 to justify keeping them, who will listen to your objections? Who can you vote out of office in protest?

If, for example, FELWG decides to abandon the Any Other Legal Quarry condition and go back to species-specific FAC conditions for firearms used to take live quarry, you have no formal means of stopping them. Yes, you can hope that BASC or the CA will speak up for you, but even they’re fighting against the overwhelming tide of proposed restrictions at home and abroad. To its credit, BASC recently admitted that it really struggled to ensure the GP medical surveillance laws, recently introduced, weren’t another blanket means of picking shooters’ pockets. The final version doesn’t look much different from the original plan they mention there.

The police and the Home Office are not accountable to us. The responsible Home Office minister is accountable only to the Prime Minister and his own local electorate – and in any case, firearms licensing is a minuscule part of his wider Home Office brief.

OK, so what would you do instead?

I’m not sure what the legislative solution here is. One way would be to include the shooting organisations alongside the police as bodies that must be consulted, by law, on changes to the guidance. BASC, the CA, the NRA and the NSRA aren’t going anywhere any time soon.

Another would be to have a public consultation exercise each time – though that could get very unwieldy and encourage the police to dump a whole pile of changes on the public each time, in the hope that they’d simply get waved through.

Perhaps another solution could be to have this proposal taken off the table altogether until a new mechanism for making the Guidance a legally binding document is worked out; a mechanism that ensures the licensed firearms community is represented properly at the top table.

Whatever the solution is, we must not allow a situation to arise where the police can change the rules at will and then go out to kick down doors and confiscate shotguns and firearms from otherwise law-abiding sportsmen. If we stay silent and do nothing, these changes will pass in the next few months.

Take action now

UK Shooting News recommends you contact your MP and ask him to write to the Home Office, asking them to amend clause 81 of the Policing and Crime Bill 2016, either by:

  • inserting the NRA, NSRA, CA and BASC as bodies to be consulted by the Secretary of State before changes are made to the guidance to police officers in respect of firearms;
  • or by deleting clause 81 because it hands the police the power to write legally binding rules that they are responsible for enforcing.

Whichever you choose, do inform your national governing body about this.

You can also write to the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee’s members. They are the House of Lords committee explicitly charged with making sure Parliament doesn’t pass any laws which give outside agencies too many powers.

Parliament is also accepting written submissions of up to 3,000 words from members of the public. The deadline is 14 April, or next week. Details of how to submit evidence to them are here.

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54 thoughts on “UK police will be able to write and enforce firearms law. We must stop this

  1. Nick B

    Storing bolts isn’t stated as required by the guidance – only “should” and “if safe / reasonable” to do so and “could” be “a detached storage container”:

    “As an additional level of security, ammunition and easily removable component parts –
    such as rifle bolts etc. – should be stored separately from the firearms they fit, if it is safe
    and reasonable to do so and they may not been confused between firearms. This could be
    either by use of a detached storage container fitted elsewhere in the dwelling, or one built
    into or onto the firearms cabinet.’

    Even if this guidance became law and as worded above – there’s nothing mandatory about any of that paragraph surely……

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    1. Gaz Corfield Post author

      Then the legal presumption would be that you have to store your bolts separately unless you can prove why you shouldn’t have to. Certainly most police forces already insist on a separate ammo cabinet using that line of the “guidance” as justification, and I’m aware of at least one recent applicant who was told his FAC would not be granted until the ammo cabinet was installed.

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      1. Nick B

        To be honest – inclusion of the word “ammunition” surprised me in that context – I think that might be a change as I’ve read the guidance a number of times and that has never leapt out at me before. That said anything in the guidance that isn’t a “must” I wouldn’t expect to need a level of “proof” but rather a “reason” as to why I didn’t comply – for eg – “to remove the bolt of my straight pull rifle would require me to disassemble the gun each time it was stored, this would lead to premature wear on the receiver and could lead to safety issues”.

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  2. Nick B

    Further the original act has this to state in section 55:

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1968/27/section/55

    55 Exercise of police functions.

    (1)Rules made under section 53 of this Act may—

    (a)regulate the manner in which chief officers of police are to carry out their duties under this Act;

    (b)enable all or any of the functions of a chief officer of police to be discharged by a deputy in the event of his illness or absence, or of a vacancy in the office of chief officer of police.

    (2)Without prejudice to subsection (1)(b) of this section, the functions of a chief officer of police under this Act shall be exercisable on any occasion by a person, or a person of a particular class, authorised by the chief officer of police to exercise that function on that occasion, or on occasions of that class or on all occasions.

    Wheras the amendment in the Police and Crime Bill clause 81 is:

    (2)5After section 55 insert—
    “55AGuidance as to exercise of police functions
    (1)The Secretary of State may issue guidance to chief officers of police as
    to the exercise of their functions under, or in connection with, this Act.
    (2)The Secretary of State may revise any guidance issued under this
    10section.
    (3)The Secretary of State must arrange for any guidance issued under this
    section, and any revision of it, to be published.
    (4)A chief officer of police must have regard to any guidance issued under
    this section.
    (5)15Before issuing guidance under this section, the Secretary of State must
    consult—
    (a)the National Police Chiefs’ Council, and
    (b)the chief constable of the Police Service of Scotland.”
    (3)In section 44 (appeals against police decisions), after subsection (3) insert—
    “(3A)20The court or sheriff hearing an appeal must consider whether the chief
    officer had regard to any guidance issued under section 55A that was
    relevant to the chief officer’s decision.”

    Now – it’s a bit of a leap to suggest that the “Home Office Guidance to the Police” is to become a legally binding document – what clause 81 actually states is that the “Sectretary of State may issue guidance to chief officers” etc etc

    The way I read that is that the Sec State can issue guidance formally under section 55 as they always have been able to, but in addition that the Police must be consulted where before they were not required to – and that the guidance issued under the act must be published.

    My take therefore is that this is certainly no worse than the status quo – and in point of fact marginally better than it was (re: publication).

    The home office guidance to the police isn’t as I understand it actually published under the auspices of the 68 act at all currently NOR would it become so with this clause. But that previously anything given to the Police under the 68 act wasn’t published at all – but now will be?

    What does everyone else think (about how the clause is written specifically?).

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    1. Gaz Corfield Post author

      Large parts of the 1968 Act have been forgotten – deliberately? – by police. The last publicity blitz to obtain a statutory power of entry to gun owners’ homes conveniently ignored the existence of section 54, which allows exactly that subject to a magistrate’s court warrant. Of course, what the police actually wanted was warrantless entry, which the guidance was updated to give them.

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  3. Nick B

    To be fair though, they’ve had the right to warrantless entry in various circumstances anyway – though I’m pretty sure it’s been stretched pretty fekkin far for a long time.

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    1. TIM

      I am pretty sure that it has been “stretched ” as you say, notice also that it states the secretary of state must consult with……….only those bodies in authority………who do you think advises the secretary of state……….ergo no input from independent bodies or bodies with interest in the subject matter. Why do you think the home office got rid of The Firearms Consultative Committee, then had nothing in place for years ………then we all got NABIS. Hardly independent or non biased advisors.
      The police are supposed to uphold the law…not write it………..massive conflict of interest to say the least.

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  4. Colin J

    Well, to my mind it’s worth a letter to your MP (I’ve just written) to get the shooting bodies consulted when Plod want to tighten or update the guidance via their “mate” in the Home Office!

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  5. Mr Smith

    When you get the police writing / wanting a law and it is given to them instantly why vote for politicians, when the police get it instantly it is a police state, going by many countries definitions we are a police state already, Police reading this? Beware what you wish for, people will take so much, and then snap, just watch out.

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  6. commonlycalledcosmincommonly called cosmin

    I have done both of your recommendations. Write to my MP and submitted evidence to the Crime and Policing Bill.. I only hope that other will do so. This is not going to affect just firearms if a body with special interests can write laws like this.
    What if the NHS could write law and decide that it is now acceptable and legal to keep people waiting in A&E for Hours and days at a time. Of course this wouldn’t be morally acceptable, but legally it would. If I remember correct slavery also used to be legal at one point.

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  7. UKPSA and BSSC

    This article states: inserting the NRA, NSRA, CA and BASC.

    What about the UKPSA & BSSC? Both organisations should be included in this list.

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  8. Gareth Hughes

    It is not the technicalities of what the Police do, it is the democratic decision process on the rules. I think most FAC woukld agree on this.

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  9. kalliste23

    The police guidance was originally to explain the law to the police, not vice versa. This is simply not acceptable. Shooting organisations should be campaigning against the unlawful aspects of current law, such as the wide authority given to police by way of the ability to impose arbitrary conditions on the issuance of certificates.
    The shooting community in the UK is its own worst enemy.

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  10. TIM

    In addition to the above with the past history of this country in regard to the subject matter I consider it unacceptable that the home office can alter things by “statute Instrument”
    It should not only be up to the Home Secretary, changes that are requested with regard to firearms should go before Parliament so input from the community can be fired into your MP.
    Having said that of course, the response from most MP with regard to the recent EU attempts to rampage all over law abiding shooters was, at best “Pathetic” and at worst “completely agenda driven”
    The function of a statute instrument was to enable simple changes to H&S Regulations etc. NOT major items of Law

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  11. Nick B

    Just to be clear – is everyone aware that the Home Sec can change the rules already? and always was able to under the 68 act?

    Whilst I disagree with most of clause 81, it’s not like we already had it great as it was.

    I’ve already had several too and fro’s with my MP (Yvette Cooper) and West Yorkshires PCC on the subject of firearms law and will certainly take this latest issue up with them, but, put it into context this clause 81 isn’t significantly worse than the situation we’re already in.

    Strongly urge anyone contacting their MP’s etc to read the 68, 88 and 97 acts so they can argue from a position of strength:

    1968 Act – Pay attention to sections 53 and 55 – what the Sec State may change and always was able to:
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1968/27/contents

    1988 Act
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/45/contents

    1997 Amendment (no 2 particularly shafted us)
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1997/5

    Once you’ve read all that lot – put it into context against clause 81:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2015-2016/0134/cbill_2015-20160134_en_10.htm#pt6-l1g81

    and then consider how sub para’s 1 and 2 are any different in practical terms to what could always be done? consider that the word is “guidance” may be issued or revised – this isn’t legally a “must” it’s a “should”.

    sub para 3 can hardly be a bad thing – any guidance issued must now be published – wheras currently we don’t know at all what is being said behind closed doors

    sub para 4 – guidance must be considered – great, the police can’t just make things up, they have to consider the guidance (and in the case of you having a dispute they’ll have to demonstrate they considered it) this should see such things as S1 shotguns being easier to get hold of in places like west yorkshire (that was fun trying to sort – got there eventually)

    sub para 5 – must consult – I can’t see how this is a bad thing – any decision that must be consulted on is far better than what we have now – where the sec of state has to consult precisely NO-ONE!!!!

    So whilst we’re all up in arms about this (rightly so we should get some none plod organisations onto the consult list) this actually puts us in a better position than we’ve always been? Hell you’d have to say – if these had been in place already, we might have had a better time over the last 19 years….

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    1. kalliste23

      This is why I was complaining as above – the Home Secretary is still in theory politically responsible and still, in theory, the police were being guided by legal authority as servants of the people. This change is important in priniciple rather than in pratical effect.
      My other point did address this – I said that bureaucratic fiat shouldn’t be allowed to dictate law, it should only be by accountable political process.
      The previous firearms laws and administration were wrong on the face of it: this makes it worse.

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  12. Iain Horne

    Anyone remember a guy called Tony Blair saying on the evening news that the Police were the experts in firearms or terrorism or whatever it was so he’d ask them what was required and enact it. He appeared to have forgotten that as an elected official his job was to direct them on our behalf rather than direct us on theirs. This isn’t new. In 1972 or so Parliament rejected a Green Paper (that ACPO endorsed) designed to unnecessarily befuddle shooters in order to reduce the numbers of license holders. Parliament at that time said that it wasn’t the business of Government to persecute lawful members of society. Those days are over. Please see Guns and Violence:The English Experience by Lieberal &Stevenson for details of that and much more firearms/crime data or another book of the same title by Joyce Lee Malcolm to track Englands attitude towards armed citizenry, it’s reversal and the reasons why.

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    1. tim

      I have indeed perused the above and much much more. Mr Blair was completely incorrect about the police being the experts in firearms, but then he was incorrect in quite a number of things.
      I find it rather scary considering the fact that the Police are the body that conducts the licencing and yet when the hand gun bans came out, the figures for hand back that they gave to the home office were “out” by 25,000. Apparently according to a report to parliament the largest group, private holders of handguns, were………Police Officers. Nice to have mates isn’t it.
      Having said that of course, when pistols were permitted I suppose you had a chance of finding a Police Officer who actually knew what he was talking about on firearms.

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  13. Nick Harman

    I think very few MPs want anything to do with firearms or their users in any way so don’t bother writing to them.

    It’s not a career move to be on record as being on the ‘side’ of firearms and it’s not a vote winner either.

    Best thing is to keep our heads down and be grateful we still have the use of a limited selection of firearms at all. Any national referendum would I am sure result in the ban of every firearm immediately..

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    1. Nick B

      sorry but that’s terrible advice – I’d prepare yourself for a barrage of negative comments v shortly.

      Keeping heads down is how we lost full bore semi auto in 88 and semi auto handguns in 97.

      As some of the uk’s most law abiding citizens – no harm can come to us following the law and holding those in charge to the same law.

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      1. Nick Harman

        To be honest, I see no good reason for allowing full bore semi auto and semi auto handguns to ever again be in private hands ever. They are weapons, designed specifically to efficiently kill humans, unlike say a single shot target rifle. So I am pleased that they are not around any more.

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      2. Nick B

        so for instance – practical matches involving movement and speed? that’s a good reason and well practised by our European and American cousins for instance.

        Your attitude is exactly of the “not my discipline so I don’t care” ilk that is why as shooters we can never stand together.

        Woe betide if the powers that be decide to come after your discipline. I’d still support your interest but I fear you wouldn’t care less about me and my practical shotgun matches…… fwiw I’m going to shoot a slug, buck and bird shot match next weekend with is basically a semi auto .729 calibre – so why can’t I be trusted with say a centrefire semi 223″ ?

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      3. Nick Harman

        Nonetheless I am happy that pistols and other semi auto weapons are mostly banned, as they should be in the USA before anybody else dies in a shooting incident or accident. There is shooting and shooting and any discipline that smacks of the military, computer games or playing cowboys is not to my mind one to be encouraged.

        Anyway my original point was that few if any MPs are ever going to stand up for any form of shooting and it’s naive to think otherwise. These people have their careers to think of.

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      4. Gaz Corfield Post author

        So your point is that you want to see more guns banned, having supported the current bans?

        I do hope you’re not in a position of power or influence in any club or syndicate. Your views, sir, are poison to me.

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      5. Nick Harman

        I don’t want to ban any more firearms, I prefer to not refer to them as guns, to be banned.

        I am not happy with semi-automatic/magazine fed firearms being in public ownership, but I would be happier if they were restricted to being stored at the home range and not at the owner’s home. Or if stored at home, no ammunition. Total ban on that..

        I can see this presents some practical problems for the range, more storage space and cost, and that a shooter would find it more awkward, having to collect the firearm for competitions and practices outside the home range. Not insurmountable problems however.

        As to people referring to the police ‘kicking in the door’, this seems to be the sort of paranoid reaction that if I were a firearms officer hearing it would lead me to re assess the speaker’s fitness for a firearms certificate.

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  14. John Pate (@kalliste23)

    The reason for magazine fed semi-auto weapons to be in private hands is self defence. The UK shooting community are the peoples’ worst enemy when it comes to basic rights of self defence. The UK shooting community aids and abets these laws intended to disarm the law abiding person and is part of the problem and, apparently, never will be part of the solution.

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    1. Nick Harman

      What? Are you suggesting the general population should be all armed as a matter of civil liberty? I think we can leave that kind of madness the other side of the Atlantic.

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      1. John Pate (@kalliste23)

        @Nick Harman – you’re making my point for me. There is no good reason for owning handguns other than self defence, the sporting purposes fall out of that. Like I said, UK shooting community is its own worst enemy.

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  15. Nick B

    Sorry but the pair of you are waaaay off the mark and missing the point.

    In a “liberal” society – should not the citizenry be permitted to undertake activities rather than prohibited. In what universe can I be trusted with all manner of firearms (including – shock, horror – handguns!!! I have two an LBR and an LBP) but for some strange reason – I who can be trusted with shotguns, rifles, HME firearms etc – I can’t have a 9mm pistol?

    That’s utterly retarded thinking that is used by those with an agenda – to chip away at our liberties.

    Safe to be trusted with a firearm, safe to be trusted with any.

    From the sounds of you two – neither of you is actually a shooter, despite what you profess and I suspect you’ve never competed with any firearm as you’re woefully informed.

    There are many sporting reasons for handguns, many disciplines for the same – and the same applies to full bore semi auto.

    There is no logical reason to prohibit FAC holders from possessing either.

    Further – to suggest that the only reason to possess a handgun is self defence is also ludicrous. By all means – have one for that purpose (it’s still valid in N.Ireland) but that’s NOT the only reason to possess.

    Might I suggest the pair of you go read the 68, 88 and 97 acts – then the home office guidance to the police – then go see what sporting disciplines exist – and then form an opinion rather than the other way around….

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    1. John Pate (@kalliste23)

      “Liberal” society? What even the hell is that? What country do you live in?

      Plenty of “sporting” disciplines used to exist that were killed by changes to the law – such as police pistol, which I used to compete in.

      You’re talking nonsense. It’s not a question a trust. It’s a question of human rights and “sporting purposes” has nothing to do with anything much.

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      1. Nicholas Harman

        You do not have a human right to own lethal weapons of your own choosing. The current laws seem eminently reasonable forbidding as they do the kind of weapons that Americans routinely blast away at each other with when upset, angry or simply hearing voices in their heads.

        The fact we have so few deaths by legally held firearms in this country is testament to the law’s effectiveness and not to any particular trustworthiness of UK citizens. Would you trust your neighbours to possess 9mm pistols?

        I personally would also consider a ban on semi auto and magazine-fed firearms to be a reasonable next move but am not unduly concerned that it is needed at this time.

        Safe to be trusted with a single shot target rifle is not ipso facto safe to be trusted with an automatic pistol. One is not designed to kill rapidly and be concealed easily and one is.

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      2. Nick B

        It was a hypothesis – clearly lost on you, the point being – in a truly “liberal” society – wouldn’t it be nice if we could all have the nice things we want for whatever reason we wanted them.

        As it stands it IS a matter of trust – there is no right to possess anything but a shotgun in this country, would I want it to be a legal right to possess firearms? – why yes for sure, but not an unqualified right – the problem is not and never has been the firearm, it is and always will be the shooter. For those that can demonstrably show they are not barred by law nor unsafe to be “trusted” then yes – by all means a right to possess.

        I suppose it could be argued that currently there’s a de facto right to a firearm, in that if:

        1) you’re not barred under law
        2) deemed to be safe (not a risk to others)
        3) AND that you have “good reason” to possess then the Police MUST issue a certificate

        I guess all we’re looking at is remove that last point.

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  16. Nick B

    Actually you’re wrong……..again, you do have a right to a shotgun in this country – as long as you’re not prohibited in law (served a custodial etc) or if you are unsafe through illness / intemperate habits – then you must be issued a shotgun certificate.

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    1. Nick B

      I would trust anyone who has met the Home Office requirements to obtain an FAC – to thereafter possess a 9mm pistol – just as I would a .50BMG or any other firearm.

      Broadly speaking we’re about where we need to be with granting FAC’s – the only problem remaining is the utterly ludicrous belief that firearms are somehow inherently dangerous and kill people all on their own. They’re inanimate objects – the issue is and always has been the shooter NOT the firearm.

      Banning semi autos and magazine fed firearms is utterly pointless – show me the evidence that says we need to do this? There isn’t any – ergo it’s agenda driven – you don’t like them and therefore want them banned.

      Safe with a firearm is in point of facto ipso facto safe with any – the gun doesn’t kill anyone – it’s the person behind the trigger. You may argue lethality and design all you want, but you can’t get round the fact that it’s the squishy meatsack behind the trigger that is the problem.

      Whilst you’re talking single shot target rifles, in what universe do you think such an accurate machine shot by an experienced shooter is any less lethal than a 9mm pistol?

      Get over your own agenda, look at the facts, see where the evidence takes you and then form an opinion instead of trying to bend reality to fit your agenda.

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      1. John Pate (@kalliste23)

        @Nick B you’re clearly confused about what a right is. Your opinions in this matter are quite literally worthless. “I would trust” – what is that supposed to mean?
        A person does have a right to defend themselves. Things follow logically from that. Your disconnected ramblings don’t follow logically from anything.

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      2. TIM

        Nick,
        Would you like to explain to me , why, having served for 22 years with an exemplary condition on discharge, no criminal convictions, range officer trained, shooting team coach, bisley, divisional, corps level shooting………………..on walking out of the main gate I was no longer “competent or trusted” to own or shoot 9mm pistol?

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      3. Nick B

        Tim – that’s absolutley bang on – my background is broadly the same.

        For avoidance of doubt – everyon know there’s two Nicks commenting here – I’m the pro shooting one. (Nick B)

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      4. Nicholas Harman

        Well I don’t know how you define ‘pro’. I’m a qualified range officer and club coach, member of two clubs and a .22 and 7.62 rifle target shooter for well over 40 years. I’d not big myself up by calling myself a ‘pro’.

        It’s not about you, it’s about in general. Keeping 9mm pistols out of public ownership has to be a good thing. Sorry to spoil your personal fun, but if that’s the price of avoiding another Dunblane then there it is.

        I would personally be receptive to pistols being allowed again only if they were kept under lock and key at the owner’s home range and not at his home. With the gun locker having two separate locks – one for the owner’s key and one for a range official’s key. So that, in theory, there is no way the pistol can be taken out without good reason and approved for such. Good reason being use at the range, use at another range (ammunition to be issued at the other range, there is no good reason why a pistol and ammunition should ever be together except when in use) or repair.

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      5. Nick B

        Pro as in “being in favour of” not as in “professional”. I would have thought that it was obvious in the context used that I was not claiming to be a professional – alas no. Although, that said – I have been a professional shooter so I can claim that too thanks very much. Spent many happy years as a Soldier – as well as a few not so happy.

        In any event I define “pro” as being because I want to increase shooting activities in terms of both firearms specifically and disciplines therein.

        For what it’s worth I am also an RCO (NSRA / NRA), and de facto a club coach (though not qualified as such I must admit).

        I’m disappointed by the views you hold given your lengthy experience, you should be aware of the failings that led to Dunblane – do you think not having hand guns would have stopped Hamilton – I’d posit no, he would have done that with whatever firearms he had access to. The issue with Dunblane is not one of firearms – it is the man plain and simple – he should not have had access as you well know.

        Please don’t talk to me about concealment of firearms – if I’m of a mind to slaughter innocents then what difference does it make to me about cutting down the stock or barrel such that I can achieve the concealment.

        What you propose for handguns already exists in the form of Section 7 and heritage sites, it works in as much as allows them to still be shot – but is a far too overbearing piece of legislation on the most law abiding members of society.

        For arguments sake, when we’ve lost semi auto shotguns, magazine fed guns, and we’re left with single shot target rifles and section 2 shotguns, and we get another atrocity – what would you do – ban those also and leave us with nothing? At what point do you accept it’s never been about the firearms – if the answer is never then you’re as much to blame as the powers that be for the number of innocents killed for your peddling of the theory that guns kill people.

        Clearly I’ve tried and failed to explain this – that’s my fault, but again I’m giving up – I only implore you to look at the evidence and form an opinion instead of looking for facts to backup your own agenda.

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      6. Nicholas Harman

        I really don’t think anyone is going to commit much of an atrocity with a single shot target rifle. Or at least, it’s not going to be as easy as it would be with a portable semi automatic magazine fed weapon.

        Yes you could saw down the barrel of a single shot rifle, but that would require a bit of preplanning. And a good workshop. And in any case you’d still be trying to reload the thing from your pocket after every shot. You’d be far deadlier running around with an axe.

        If you believe it’s okay for people to own at home dangerous weapons, on the basis that they passed a FAC inspection at some point, that’s fine. But we should remember that anyone of us could ‘snap’ at anytime and with no prior warning. Having no access to semi automatic weapons would at the very least mean there was a good chance nothing terrible would result.

        Of course a gun needs a person to pull its trigger, but if you remove the gun you ensure that person is powerless. My ‘agenda’ is that only weapons of limited power and performance should be in the public’s hands. I don’t see what’s so odd about thinking like that? Why do you want to have semi automatics at home? Are you expecting trouble?

        Everyone is sane and safe until the day they aren’t. I prefer to err on the side of caution rather than apologise to the victims’ relatives after the event.

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  17. Nick B

    John – I literally can’t follow your arguements nor how what I say generates your responses – it’s like you’re not even trying to argue any of my points specifically.

    To that end – I give up trying.

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  18. Nick B

    I already have semi automatics at home, 2 rifles, 2 shotguns and an LBP. So, given I already possess in 22LR and 12G (am conditioned for slug also) I see no reason why I can’t have a 9mm or some other calibre semi automatic handgun.

    I want ALL my guns to be stored somewhere of my choosing, some I leave at my club for convenience – the rest are at home. I regularly work on my guns be it maintenance, repair or modification, I’d much rather do that at home – with my tools in my work area – everything I need is to hand. Would you rather I hump and dump all my stuff to the club every time?

    Would you have me surrender all my semi automatics? I hold every last one of them for sporting purposes – so tell me, why can’t I have a hand gun (although to be fair I already have 2 of those albeit Long Barrel Revolver and Long Barrel Pistol).

    Cutting down a barrel does not require much in the way of planning or a workshop, seconds worth of thought and effort involving a hack saw blade and voila – armed robbers have been doing that successfully enough and they’re not renound for being the brightest of folks. I find your argument in this area very weak.

    Don’t forget – your FAC is renewed every 5 years – so it’s not just “at some point” and if like me you hold firearms ONLY through membership of a Home Office approved club, then you’re de facto subject to monitoring by your required attendance at same.

    Your argument about guns at home surely means that no-one should store ANY guns at home – does it not?

    A single shot target rifle in full bore is much more deadly than a semi auto pistol – as a function of velocity and energy it absolutely trumps a 9mm and indeed many other larger pistol calibers.

    If your agenda is indeed “weapons of limited power and performance should be in the public’s hands” then what’s your cut off? how are you measuring this? velocity, energy, rate of fire etc? If you’re seriously advocating limited power – then does that mean we should get rid of .308/7.62? what about .223/5.56 – the military make good use of that – are we only safe with sub .223 calibres – what about 22/250 – that’s plenty zippy. Is 17HMR ok?

    What about shotguns – I can think of no more devastating firearm up close than a shotgun, case in point – I’ve just picked up a case of buck shot for a match (Gamebore 32g SG in point of fact) 1400 fps with 9 x 8.4mm balls – fag packet maths says that’s effectively 9 x 9mm Parabellum’s worth of firepower – in one section 2 shotgun cartridge. That you don’t even need a shotgun certificate to possess (to buy for sure, but then – in that case the cert doesn’t even need to be in your name…….).

    So again, why can’t I or other shooters possess a semi auto handgun (or other centre fire handgun) for eg in my specific case shooting practical pistol matches? I clearly have access to other higher energy firearms, they’re stored at home and so on?

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    1. Nicholas Harman

      ‘I see no reason why I can’t have a 9mm or some other calibre semi automatic handgun’

      Because it’s small and easily portable and fires large bullets very quickly from a large capacity magazine and you can carry lots of magazines. It belongs in the hands of trained law enforcement officers or in the army. Nowhere else. It’s not a sporting ‘toy’.

      ‘Would you rather I hump and dump all my stuff to the club every time?’

      A mild inconvenience surely?

      I have never tried but I would imagine cutting through the barrel of a target rifle is a lot harder than the barrel of a shotgun. A lot more metal

      ‘A single shot target rifle in full bore is much more deadly than a semi auto pistol – as a function of velocity and energy it absolutely trumps a 9mm and indeed many other larger pistol calibers.

      It’s the speed of a semi auto pistol that makes it deadly and its useability. It was after all expressly designed to kill people. A target rifle is unwieldy and slow to reload being designed solely for target shooting. Who would you rather came charging into your building, a bloke with a TR or a bloke with a 9mm pistol? When repeatedly shot by the 9mm would you say, ‘phew at least it wasn’t a 7.62’

      Of course shotguns are deadly at close range but we have always had shotguns in the countryside and it’s not a firearm I am particularly concerned about. Except when they are pump action shotguns. No one needs a pump action to shoot game. Or solid slugs.

      ‘So again, why can’t I or other shooters possess a semi auto handgun (or other centre fire handgun) for eg in my specific case shooting practical pistol matches? I clearly have access to other higher energy firearms, they’re stored at home and so on?’

      Because see above. You’re having a semi auto handgun makes me uneasy.

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      1. Nick B

        If I’m of a mind to carry a firearm for some ill purpose – what’s to stop me cutting down any I have? This invalidates your portability argument.

        large bullets – 9mm, are you sure that’s large? Since when does size have anything to do with lethality, it’s weight x velocity you should be concerned with (you can have expansion thereafter).

        Why can’t a handgun (don’t forget I want full bore semi auto rifles too) be a sporting toy? That’s your opinion, all over the world matches are shot with full bore semi auto rifles and handguns – why can’t they be sporting firearms? Designed for this that and the other is neither here nor there – it’s what they’re used for that counts.

        A minor convenience to hump and dump my stuff to the club every time? So what about the OAP members of my club – they have to do the same? what about the disabled? you want me to take all the tools and supplies I need to the range every time? What about if I take several guns with me (that’s pretty much every trip for me) the amount of stuff I need goes up significantly. Should I take my reloading kit too? I can just tuck a progressive press under my arm surely…….

        The physics backs my argument up re 9mm and 7.62×51 – yes I’d think myself very lucky to get shot by 9mm as opposed to 7.62x51mm – why’s that you say oh because the former is circa 400-500ft/lbs muzzle energy versus oh only circa 2500ft/bs – I’d thank my lucky stars cor blimey govnah to only get stung by a 9mm……..

        Cutting through a target rifle barrel is trivially easy, it’s in most cases not even an inch in diameter, humans have invented tools that make it simplistic in the extreme to cut through metal should you be so inclined.

        Why have you singled out pump action shotguns? that’s just plain stupid – what’s wrong with those? Hell I’ve already told you I have two semi auto shotguns – are they now ok?

        Can I have a .338 Lapua Magnum target rifle or a .50BMG target rifle – would you be ok with that whereas a handgun makes you uneasy? I was clearly trust worthy enough when I was 19 to have a Browning Hi Power issued to me – and yet now I can demonstrate over 20 years experience with firearms – suddenly I can’t be trusted.

        Personally, I don’t believe a word you’re saying about your background – you’re an anti through and through – I present facts and science and you present ill founded agenda driven opinion. You avoid the vast majority of my points so we can’t even have a reasonable debate on this.

        If you are in fact what you claim then I pity your club and it’s members for having such a selfish, opinionated, agenda driven person as yourself in any position of authority.

        You would do well to give up the shooting sports as you by no means represent the views of the vast majority of shooters taking up the sport these days. Keep whatever support you have – with shooters (allegedly) like yourself – we don’t need your help.

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      2. Nicholas Harman

        You have reverted to vitriol, pedantry and abuse Nick B so I will leave you to it. You clearly take Charlton Heston’s angle on this one, ‘cold dead fingers etc’. Enjoy your growing and impressive stockpile of weapons. I hope the FAC inspector isn’t reading your posts, though. They demonstrate a certain instability of temper.

        I represent no one’s view but my own and I do not presume, as you do, to know what ‘the vast majority of shooters’ think’ or to speak for them.

        If you do wish to check my bona fides, you can find me on the NSRA list of club shooters for .22 and I presume a similar list exists for full bore TR shooters.

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  19. Nick B

    11 paragraphs I write, you ignore the first 9 – and draw offense from the last two. What did you expect when you clearly demonstrate “It’s not my discipline so I don’t like it”.

    I repeat, I gave you facts – you give me opinion and ignore the parts of my argument you can’t / won’t challenge.

    I would have absolutey no qualms justifying any of my comments to my FEO – they’re clear, rational and well reasoned arguments, presenting facts and
    evidence.

    Flag up for me specifically the vitriol, pedantry and abuse and I’ll happily apologies if you are correct. I suspect rather that it’s just you don’t like my opinions and are somehow offended by them.

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    1. Nicholas Harman

      As I say NickB, you seem quite angry that someone is suggesting some of your toys should be taken away. You dislike my opinion so much you decide that I cannot be a genuine member of a shooting club to hold it. An odd leap of logic to assume any club member must be in favour of ownership of semi autos in order to be genuine! Bit fascist, actually.

      I have never suggested that you personally can’t be trusted to have a stockpile of semi auto weapons and ammo. I have suggested that for public safety I think it might be best if no one did. That is the opposite of selfish, I am in fact thinking of others whereas you are only thinking of yourself. Because you feel you can be trusted to possess a small arsenal, everyone should be. Or if not everyone, then at least you. Because you can be trusted.

      I make no apology for not being happy about semi autos being in public ownership or for seeing no reason to relax the current ban on handguns. I do not go out and ask for a ban of the former and I am passive about the latter.

      In fact I am doing nothing to support you or remove support from you,merely stating my personal opinion and belief. Calmly and with no aggression or dogma.

      So shoot me (sic)

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  20. Nick B

    for what it’s worth – I’ve ro’d my club ranges every weds for several years now, I’m aware of the views of hundreds upon hundreds of new shooters as I see four new faces every single week. Why might that be? because we’re a popular club catering for all disciplines. New shooters want to try everything and we positively encourage that so that they can discover what they enjoy most.

    Further this demonstrates to them just what is available in the UK and how they’re safely possessed and shot by tens of thousands of people. All for the furtherence of our sports.

    You’re arguing for further restrictions – so as I said waaaaay back in this thread – prepare for negative responses to your views.

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    1. Nicholas Harman

      I never said the general public didn’t like the idea of shooting all kinds of guns, many do, it’s just whether they should be allowed to possess them at home along with ammo. At least the more efficiently dangerous kinds of guns, anyway.

      Just because a part of the general public wants something is no reason to give it to them. You have to think of others, too.

      I didn’t think my views would be popular but that’s no reason to not air them. I’d not have much luck going on a One Direction website and saying they couldn’t sing, but I’d not be necessarily wrong to say it would I?

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      1. Gaz Corfield Post author

        I could engage with this blinkered “I don’t like it so I want to punish everyone who does” mindset … but there is no arguing with a closed mind.

        As the blog operator, all I’ll say is let’s have less of the personal attacks, please.

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  21. Nick B

    Have just had a re-read of page 69 of the Policing and Crime Bill 2015-16, and yup completely agree is does mean that the Guidance will have the weight of law behind it.

    The good news is it hasn’t received Royal Assent yet nor is it scheduled for same – so it isn’t law yet.

    This helps out a club of mine enormously as we’re awaiting approval from the Home Office as it had expired and they’re taking sweet time to sort it.

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