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Government consultation on firearms matters

posted 24 Nov 2020, 08:39 by Tony Cattermole
The awaited consultation has now been published on the Government website and is live until 16th February 2021.

We have been active on all of these issues along with BSSC. I believe that there are no surprises here and these issues have been discussed previously but I will comment further in due course. The 11(4) exemption as it stands is no longer tenable in today’s society and needs revision. The current key proposal is as stated below, which we believe is likely to go forward. The Home Office remain supportive of the other elements of 11(4) recognising that it is a useful means of introducing people to target shooting.

We will be responding on behalf of HBSA.

Derek Stimpson

The Government public consultation on firearms safety can be seen here:-


You may already be aware that the consultation originated from debates during the passage through Parliament of the Offensive Weapons Act 2019. At that time, the Government gave a commitment to consult on strengthening the security requirements for high muzzle-energy rifles as an alternative to the Government’s original intention in the Bill to prohibit these weapons. It also committed to include in the consultation some other firearms safety issues that were raised during debates on the Act.

In addition to security for high muzzle-energy rifles, the consultation will also cover:

  • Miniature rifle ranges – there is an exemption in GB firearms law which allows a person to run a rifle range or shooting gallery where only small calibre rifles or air weapons are used, without the need for a firearms licence. Additionally, members of the public do not need a firearms licence to shoot at such a range or gallery. This exemption is widely used to introduce people to target shooting. However, law enforcement has raised concerns that the exemption may allow unsuitable people to gain access to firearms, with consequent public safety risks. The consultation will seek views on improving the controls on miniature rifle ranges while retaining the benefits that miniature rifle ranges present to shooting sports. The key proposal will be that anyone who wishes to operate a miniature rifle range must apply for a firearm certificate and undergo the necessary police checks into their background and security.
  • Ammunition - Law enforcement has raised concerns about the availability of component parts of ammunition, and how criminals could use them to unlawfully manufacture full rounds of ammunition. The key components of ammunition – the propellant and primer – are already controlled under GB law, and there are offences relating to the unlawful possession of complete ammunition. The consultation will seek views on whether these controls remain sufficient or whether they should be strengthened. In particular, it will seek views on whether to make it an offence to possess component parts of ammunition with intent to unlawfully manufacture complete rounds.
  • Air weapons – the consultation will summarise responses to the review we carried out following the tragic death of 13-year old Benjamin Wragge, who was killed accidentally with an air weapon in 2016. The consultation will seek views on proposals relating to the possession of air weapons by under-18s, secure storage and the safe-keeping of air weapons.
The consultation will close on 16 February 2021.