Breaking: Britain plans .50″ and ‘rapid fire’ gun bans

3 Oct 2017 – The Home Office is using the most recent American mass murder in Las Vegas to try and rush through new bans on .50″ rifles and “rapid fire” rifles. Both are legal for certified owners in the UK.

A government press release about the latest batch of bans in Britain (mostly headline-grabbing but minor changes to stop U18s buying sulphuric acid and knives) had this tacked onto the end:

“…moving two firearms (.50 calibre and certain rapid firing rifles) from the general licensing arrangements to the stricter provisions of section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968.”

As British shooters know, section 5 is the “prohibited weapons” section of the Act. Firearms and other weapons so classified are banned, meaning people holding ordinary firearm certificates cannot acquire or keep them. This is a gun ban plan.

It is not clear what “certain rapid firing rifles” means from the press release and no further information is available at the moment. This is British government department SOP: throw the plan out first with no detail, ride the wave of “getting tough/positive action” headlines, and then drip-feed out the gory details once public attention has moved on. The term could mean anything from .22″ semi-autos to section 1 shotguns, though UKSN believes it probably refers to the innovative self-unloading rifles developed in recent years. This may include lever-release and MARS action rifles.

With Home Secretary Amber Rudd becoming increasingly erratic in her Violet Elizabeth Bott-style rants at American social media companies for daring to use encryption in response to public demand, it seems that a police employee somewhere in the Home Office chain decided now was a good time to exploit the power vacuum above. The Home Office firearms unit was merged with its drugs unit in the last year and a key post on the firearms side was left gapped for months, though it was recently filled.

Doubtless we will see explicit links drawn by government PRs in the coming days and weeks between the Las Vegas murderer and British target shooters, and the shooting sports.

No legally held .50″ rifle has ever been implicated in any criminal offence in the UK. This is in contrast to Rudd’s plan to ban sulphuric acid after a spate of acid-throwing attacks, in spite of that substance’s many domestic and industrial uses.

.50″ rifles are typically used for very long range shooting (distances greater than 1,200yds) on military-certified field firing areas. At least two large clubs serve .50″ shooters in the UK: the Fifty Cal Shooting Association (FCSA) and Offa’s Dyke Rifle Club.

Thanks to Charles Marston on Twitter for the headsup.

7 thoughts on “Breaking: Britain plans .50″ and ‘rapid fire’ gun bans

  1. D Y

    Didn’t you just post an article about how British gun “laws” (removal of freedom?) prevented Las Vegas type shootings? So why do you now need more laws? You mean liberals aren’t logical?? Couldn’t have seen that coming.

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  2. Robert

    If legislators here in the States did that at noon, by 5:00 PM people would be hammering out ammunition and gun barrels for the .416 Chey-Tac, which shoots farther, gives better accuracy, and delivers more foot-lbs of energy to its target.

    California (USA) banned the .50BMG cartridge, whereupon Barrett, the premier maker of such arms, instituted a firm policy that it would not sell its products to the Police, National Guard, F&W or any Government entity of the State of California.

    We do things a little bit differently over here.

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  3. nick b

    It never fails to amaze me how lazy politicians are – guns are inanimate fecking objects, they never have been and never will be the problem , it’s the squishy meatsack behind the trigger.

    By and large the difference between the Vegas Shooter and a UK legal fireams possesor is that we can’t purhcase just because, a goodly majority will be target shooters who are by law and home office approval criteria required to shoot at their club periodically throughout the year – and the club is required to inform of those who haven’t. It’s not perfect but does mean that we’re obliged to shoot and liekly as not mix with others giving an opportunity to spot those not functioning well in the head.

    I think – but of course cannot prove, that this will help reduce the liklihood of a mass shooting event in the UK. AFAIK Derek Bird in Cumbria was not a member of a home office approved club and his firearms for shooting over land – ergo no monitoring opportunities. Though after that event greater efforts were undertakend to get GPs to monitor and report – which now they’re trying to subvert because:money.

    There’s no logical argument to ban 50BMG as the first response on this thread indicates – shooters will switch to similar calibres – but beware – all “they” need to do is look at energy limits (for eg firearms over 10000J cannot be held for use by members of a home office club currently) and then that’s a vast swathe of calibres bu66erd up.

    Whatever calibre or energy limits they look to prohibit will all be entirely arbitary – this is purely because someone who doesn’t know much at all doesn’t like “them” and wants “them” banned.

    With a bit of complaining about lack of evidence based legislation we should get this cr4p killed off – Britain is somewhat distracted with Brexit at the moment so I can’t see this getting much time at all.

    FWIW – I’ll be prodding my MP, the Home Sec Amber Rudd and BASC – but the NRA of the UK will do sod all as per usual.

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  4. Kevin Ryalls

    Here we go again something happens over seas so lets change our laws so we can be seen to be pc, our gun laws are not perfect but more than adequate from preventing Las vegas type incidents, how can anyone compare our firearms laws with USA 🇺🇸 they simply don’t have any laws and never will have I know as I’ve lived and worked over there and couldn’t wait to come home, I’ve got two lever release rifles if they are banned they might aswell ban my 303 smle just as rapid firing and twice as powerful and while their at it the doo goody lefties among us might aswell ban cars and knifes so we can go back to the horse and cart and eat with or fingers, there’s nothing wrong with our firearms laws.. They do the job as long as the authorities do thier job properly as not in the Dunblane cover up everything will be fine for many years to come and for the youngsters coming into the sport, myself and many other law abiding fac holders have been shooting for over forty years or so, so we know what works and what doesn’t, those of us with no experience on the matter should not get involved, you don’t go to a gynaecologist for a sceptic toe nail.

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  5. Cao Ren is a Big Guy for Wu

    And this was put out a few days ago I have seen many a comment on the parts of the statement referring to knives and acid from the media, but nothing on the firearms! As usual they seek to keep people ignorant until it is too late for the legislation to be stopped by the citizenry talking with their representatives

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  6. tuaregraider

    Let’s say they do try and ban LR / MARS and .50 cal’s, surely they will have to compensate the owners? I believe Article 17 of the EU constitution, right to property (which we will still likely be under if the bans do come), states that any possession lawfully acquired cannot simply be taken away from the owner without compensation being paid? But a bigger question here.. how did these firearms types get passed as lawful in the first place by the powers that be if they are now stating they are subject to potential bans? Seems absolutely ridiculous. What a nanny state. Time we stood up collectively – as per it wont be the last attempt to slowly chip away at what you can own. They’ll be coming for pea shooters in time.

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  7. Saul

    The government won’t stop until everyone is wrapped in bubble wrap, comatose in a chemical bliss, ignorant and placcid. “Plebs” aren’t “allowed” these “things” because “they dont know what they’re doing, are stupid & dirty”.

    The Elite only fear weapons of any sort becuse they know, Law abiding citizens who like to target shoot, skeet shoot or hunt are usually, politically active, not willing to take BS & will stand up for freedom to prevent Socialists or Fascists gaining power.

    As much as people hark on about it, our fathers, grandfathers & great grandfathers, and older female relatives faught & struggled through two world wars to ensure this country had freedom. From the 1960s to present, the UK Government has done nothing but further restrict and tighten things with a “BAN IT!!! BAN IT NOW!!!” attitude that doesn’t work.

    A criminal can still get a fully automatic AK-74 and hundreds of rounds of 5.45x39mm WR on the blackmarket, illegal MP5-Ns, Grenades & other weaponary like the Czech Skorpion. It’s not the weapons that kill, it’s the people using them. You legislate on criminals, not law abiding citizens.

    You only take away our freedom, our hobbies, our bonding exercises with the family, days out, hunting trips & right to self defence by legislating on people that do not nominally break the law. It’s only about control. It’s all it ever is about.

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