Following last week’s news (22 November) that the Government had decided to proceed with an amendment to remove the ban on high powered rifles from the Offensive Weapons Bill, the Countryside Alliance has now welcomed the passing of that amendment by a clear majority of 307 votes to 274 in the House of Commons on 28 November.

Prior to the vote, Home Office Minister Victoria Atkins MP, went on record to state that the future use of high velocity rifles will now go through a public consultation so that the risk can be properly assessed.

The Bill as amended will now go to the House of Lords for consideration.

Chairman of the British Shooting Sports Council, Jonathan Djanogly MP, said in the debate: “The proposal in this bill to ban firearms of more than 13,600 joules muzzle velocity including .50 calibres guns does not under any interpretation of the facts going to help the fight against crime”

Liam Stokes, Countryside Alliance Head of Campaigns said: “Now the question of restricting high powered rifles has been put on the agenda, a public consultation is the only way the risks posed by these rifles can be properly investigated and assessed. The shooting community supports evidence-based firearms restrictions, but the evidence we have seen so far shows no link between criminality and legally-held .50 calibre rifles.

“The Countryside Alliance will engage fully with the Government’s consultation, but we will continue to call for 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 affects hundreds of thousands of people and is delaying improvements to public safety.”