The Countryside Alliance has welcomed the Government’s decision not to proceed with a ban on high calibre rifles and has called on the Home Office to refocus on resolving the ongoing problems with firearms licensing.

The Government has tabled an amendment to the Offensive Weapons Bill which will see the removal of the proposed ban on high calibre rifles, includes .50 rifles. The change is expected to be made next week when the Bill returns to the House of the Commons for its remaining stages before going to the House of Lords.

The decision follows months of campaigning by shooting organisations who highlighted that there was no evidence for the proposed ban and stressed that the ban could set a dangerous precedent in firearms law.

The Countryside Alliance supports the amendment to the Bill but has called on the Government to refocus on issues that matter to a far larger number of shooting people by addressing problems with firearms licensing medical procedures.

Countryside Alliance Head of Campaigns Liam Stokes said: ““The proposed ban on 0.50 calibre rifles should never have been in the Bill in the first place and we are pleased that the Government has now moved to amend it to reflect the evidence.

“While we welcome the Government’s decision, we are now calling on the Home Office to refocus their efforts on addressing a far more pressing problem: the chaos gripping the firearms licensing medical procedures. The lack of progress on this issue continues to frustrate thousands of people and is delaying improvements to public safety. We will be working to ensure that action on the Offensive Weapons Bill is not used as justification for inaction in other, more vital areas.”