Has a minister lied to Parliament about rifle clubs?

2 Nov 17 The Conservative minister driving the ban on .50-calibre and MARS action rifles appears to have deliberately misled Parliament in a written answer.

In a response to a written question asking whether any rifle clubs use armour-piercing ammunition, Nick Hurd MP stated this:

A small number of shooting clubs are approved to use firearms which use armour-piercing ammunition.

This is nonsense. There are no rifle clubs in the UK approved to use AP ammunition. It is banned from general use, and the legal approval framework for rifle clubs has no mechanism by which a rifle club can gain an exemption from the law here.

(source: I’ve set up two Home Office Approved rifle clubs from scratch, including writing their constitutions by starting from a blank sheet of paper and applying for the relevant categories of approval. My finished documents were checked and approved by police and the Home Office. I know this stuff very well.)

The only way an individual can get legal access to banned ammunition is by obtaining authority under section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968. This is a deliberately onerous process: that exemption exists mainly for defence and security contractors, manufacturers, suppliers and so on.

Got a rifle of your own and fancy trying out AP ammo down your club with your mates? No chance at all – it simply does not and cannot happen within the law.

Why has Hurd lied, then? Layman’s explanation

Hurd is the minister piloting a police-driven ban on two firearm types used by licensed target shooters: a self-unloading rifle mechanism called MARS, and .50-calibre rifles. Police want these banned because they claim criminals might get hold of them through the legal licensing system.

This is nonsense: Britain’s firearms licensing laws are some of the toughest in the world for responsible, law-abiding people to navigate. The law, and the rifle clubs, are set up so wrong’uns get weeded out very quickly – incidentally, police also carry out extensive background checks on anyone applying for a firearm certificate.

To try and drum up some public support for banning things which have never been used or implicated in any crime*,  the Home Office, via Hurd, is trying to label .50-calibre rifles “materiel destruction rifles” by creating a wholly false link between them and the use of armour-piercing ammunition by non-police civilians. AP ammo is banned, full stop. It has no place in target shooting, which is what the .50-cal shooters’s club does in the UK. That link goes to their website, check out what they get up to.

  • IRA terrorists used .50-cal rifles in Northern Ireland during the troubles. These were illegally imported from abroad – not one was ever obtained from within the UK.

Here is a screenshot of the false and untrue answer by Hurd.

hurd lied parliament


17 thoughts on “Has a minister lied to Parliament about rifle clubs?

  1. BJ

    If these comment are factual, does any mechanism exist to ensure that the true facts are presented to Parliament and Nick Hurd is outed as either an ignorant blagger or an out and out liar, in order that the fact are made public.


  2. Ed McBain

    Hurd is a weasel and has structured his reply in such a way that has built-in plausible deniability.
    “A small number of shooting clubs are approved to use firearms which use armour-piercing ammunition”
    We may feel that we know he intended to deliberately mislead Parliament but he has done it in such an artful way that when called to account he can truthfully say these rifles can be used to fire armour-piercing ammunition.
    He has merely neglected to mention that this ammunition is unavailable to ordinary FAC holders and couldn’t be used on club ranges even if one did somehow access some.

    My Italian girlfriend used to be fond of saying she never lied – she just made the truth sound better.

    These are politicians – loathsome creatures that like to be called Honourable Members of Parliament but realize that nobody in any normal walk of life would be inclined to do so – hence their having rules in Parliament that oblige them to at least refer to each other as honourable even if nobody else will.


  3. Mr Smith

    Nick Hurd MP, Why would he lie? Why would he not, his father was no friend of the truth when he put through the 1987 amendment acts, Perhaps it is in his / their blood to distort the truth on firearms?
    In fact almost certainly.


  4. Chris Kinealy

    The UK has the strictest firearms laws in the world and an ever increasing level of armed crime.
    So! Obviously strict gunlaws CAUSE armed crime. If laws stoped crime then we would have NO crime. Obviously CRIMINALS do not obey laws. When pistols were banned in the UK myself and many others handed in our pistols. This cost the TAXPAYER over a billion pounds sterling. And what next? Surprise Surprise! Armed crime with pistols increased.



  5. Dave Whitfield

    Typical politician, couldn’t lie straight in bed. There should be a means of calling the lying little git to account.


  6. David Weston

    I disagree with Ed McBain; this to me can only possibly read that there are clubs out there that use AP ammo.

    If he had something along the lines of “[…] firearms capable of using […]” then that would be understandable.


    1. Ed McBain

      If he had said it like that he couldn’t have conveyed the same sense of menace that he was hoping for. The way you have structured the reply doesn’t sound scary at all. No real sense of urgency to the ‘problem’.
      With politicians it’s all clever word play – sleight of hand. They always have an escape route planned just in case someone competent is listening to their guff and calls them on it
      This way he can always claim he meant it the way you have suggested if taken to task over the misdirection.


  7. Withheld.

    Nick Hurd has deliberatly chosen his words to cause most negative publicity and to support his proposed .50 ban,but if challanged will of course say that it has been miss read, a typical Politican, full of B.S.with an agenda to pursue.
    There is no evidence that .50 and MARS Actions have been involved in any crime, or have been a problem,its just Senior Police officers that sit on various committees do not like them and will if possible do all they can to ban them, under a percieved thret,that does not exist.
    I dont like Politicans, can we ban them ??, instead,
    i can produce supporting evidence but it will never happen.


  8. Robert Sandison

    In Scotland the politicians came up with all kinds of scams to convince the public that air guns were a deadly menace to them in order to justify the licensing of air guns . In reality offences involving air guns had fallen by 75% in 10 years to a record all time low . Yet still they bulldozed their airgun bill through .


  9. Bob Bout

    People tend to look at the USA, there the looneys can have guns legally,
    No hoops to jump through, in th UK we have laws and have to apply for a FAC , this is not a guarantee that you will get one,
    It’s hard if you join a club you don’t just go there and that’s it, away you go you are taught safety etc,
    The criminals will get guns if they want them not from licensed holders, but from other countries smuggled into the country, but because they cannot be found then the FAC holders are an easy target,
    No pun.


    1. Salopian

      With respect to the USA; that is not really true though. If you look at the overwhelming majority of mass shootings involving legally held firearms you will usually find either a significant prior psychiatric diagnosis or criminal conviction that was not reported to the NICS background check system. Failure to report by professionals is the main issue there and is presently being remedied in law.

      The overwhelming majority of crime involving firearms in the USA is urban gang related and committed: By people legally barred from possessing firearms, in areas where possession of a firearm is usually prohibited without a permit or at all and using illegally acquired firearms.

      The tired old Obama-era adage of Chicago gangs buying their guns in Indiana is simply a fiction. You cannot buy firearms with an out of state ID and proof of state residence is always required. Straw-purchasing on behalf of a barred individual is also a serious crime in law.


  10. Soldslug

    write to your local MP and request that they demand Mr Hurd actually answer the question that was asked – his current answer does not.


    1. tuaregraider

      Done. I’m asking this, plus why the previous agreement that BASC etc. would be notified of any further proposals was ditched and we are where we are now (a new set of proposals dropped on the shooting community without any prior warning). If a ban on any of the proposed firearms types does come in, owners need to be mindful of how long compensation took to be paid out after the pistol hand-ins. Some people were left waiting for at least a year. That isn’t on. Mr. Hurds proposal to license airguns in the UK is attacking the grass roots of shooting sports, i’ve also asked my MP about that, too.


  11. Salopian

    I have written to Daniel Kawczynski as he is my local MP. I put forward a few points and hopefully will get an answer back to ensure he has not been misled by the usual suspects concerning this. I don’t have firearms of my own at present due to financial hardship and physical health making it impossible to get to a rifle club of any sort on a basis required for the probationary period if I could afford it. A good many of my family do target sports however and if this new ban is allowed then; the anti-gun nutters will be back in a few years for the more commonly owned rifles such as .22rf semi-auto’s and lever-action carbines etc.

    It’s going to get so onerous to take up shooting in the future that those without large piles of cash won’t even be able to consider it if things like this get let through now. Back in the day; the marxist internationalist leanings of these pro gun-control types in the civil service and beyond would have been considered subversive and potentially grounds to dismiss. Now it is celebrated.



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