Members of the House of Lords opted not to proceed with an amendment to the Offensive Weapons Bill that would restore a ban on high-energy rifles (mostly those of .50 calibre), which had previously been removed from the text of the bill.
Labour’s home affairs spokesperson, Lord Kennedy of Southwark, tabled the amendment, which he said was “word-for-word what was in the Bill when it was first published in the House of Commons.” Ultimately, this amendment was not moved.
During the Lords committee debate on 6 February, Viscount Goschen said: “It is generally accepted internationally that the UK has one of the most rigorous and best informed firearms licensing regimes in the world. It is also generally accepted that the shooting community respects and understands that the holding of a firearms certificate is a privilege that can be removed. Because of that, they are a very law-abiding section of the community.
“With that in mind, we have to be a bit careful of banning things because they are an easy target.
“Before we ban something we have to have a closely argued, coherent case that is evidence based. Just banning something because we feel like it or because it is easy to do should not be a proper course of action.”
An amendment was also raised that would place a legal duty on the Home Secretary to report to Parliament on the problems experienced with firearms licensing guidance, particularly around medical procedures.
The Countryside Alliance said this “piled pressure” on the government to do something about the current licensing situation.