There are no HBSA rifle shoots this December.
I would normally have a provisional list of dates for the early part of 2021 available. Bisley, not unreasonably, are fairly late this year with any approvals of range requests.
So far we have:
January 20th 2021 Midweek Rifle Practice Century Range @ 300 yds. If you wish to shoot please email your intention to me as for continued Covid precautions numbers are limited.
Sunday February 21st 2021 Fixed/No Bayonet competition. Again we will have to see if we are able to run competitions in the early part of next year.
I will keep you posted as further dates are confirmed.
I hope you all have a good Christmas and that the new year will be slightly more normal!
All the best
I promised to follow up from my original post regarding the Government consultation just launched. As you may recall government agreed to the consultation following the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 and it has been delayed by Brexit and the pandemic.
We have plenty of time to draft responses with care and we are seeking to resolve some of the other pending issues first, such as the new regulation on antiques and Mars and LR hand-in. However the following may help members to consider the matter further. Clearly BSSC, which brings together many organisations, including those with a specific interests in the points mentioned, will all be working together, and respond appropriately, along with ourselves and others. HBSA Council is fully informed.
Firstly regarding security for high muzzle energy rifles (defined as exceeding 13,600 J ). FCSA will be at the forefront of this together with BSSC. The current storage security may have to be increased in some cases, and FCSA will be negotiating this for their members together with ourselves, BSSC, and other BSSC members.
Regarding ammunition, the issue raised is, do controls on ammunition components need strengthening? We do not believe so. Existing legislation is sufficient. Of course this case will be laid out in more detail. The question of intent may be addressed if necessary.
The 11(4) exemption that allows a person running a miniature rifle range to acquire firearms and ammunition without a certificate, is not considered tenable in today’s society. However 11(4) has other notable benefits. I will not lay out here the long history, coming from post Boer War.
This exemption is is in the law and an exemption certificate is not needed – one can rely on the law. A range certificate is not needed from NSRA to get their insurance – the H & S rules apply anyway! There are other elements of 11(4) which in practice greatly assist to bring in new shooters – anyone can go into a “club” and shoot after signing a Sect. 21 declaration.
The latter in particular is recognised as a benefit to the shooting community by the Home Office. The Home Office visited Bisley and a local club to gather information on operation of 11(4). In addition to the Home Office, we also discussed this issue in a meeting with the Minister last February.
A paper was prepared working with Graham Burns (NSRA rep to BSSC) for the NSRA and with my input for BSSC/HBSA. BSSC then sent it to the Minister after all members agreed the document. NSRA agree that the FAC route has to be taken for “the person” and that the “11(4) certificate” is not necessary. Certifying ranges is different and is safety related. The paper is not public at this stage but the points will be amplified in our response on this topic.
It is always difficult to share detailed information when a discussion with authorities is in course. Our views, especially together with BSSC, do carry weight, and reflect the time and effort put in by all those involved.
Finally regarding air guns and young people, we do need them to be able to have access in proper circumstances, especially for schools, scouts and cadets, and this will be discussed with the entities involved and included in our response.
I hope that this is helpful and will give more feedback as and when possible.
Meanwhile I urge forum posts made to be factual and balanced and useful as well as polite.
The Chairman’s 2019-2020 Report was summarised during the AGM on Zoom: the full text (slightly updated) can be seen here >>>>
Unfortunately Tier 3 restrictions are being imposed on Warwickshire, Birmingham and The Black Country, which includes Stratford on Avon and our figures are only 109/100,000.
This means that 75% of the entrants are subject to Tier 3 restrictions.
Guidance is as follows.
avoid travelling to other parts of the UK, including for overnight stays other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through other areas as part of a longer journey
I will be monitoring the situation closely with the Stourport Committee and hope to be able to offer an alternative date in January.
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.
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.
The following is a message received from NCA as part of a social media campaign to remind shotgun owners to take proper precautions to avoid theft. We therefore pass it on to HBSA members. We were informed that 87 shotguns have been stolen since May.
NCA post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram
With some people returning to work, homes that were occupied throughout the first lockdown are being left empty more often, giving shotgun thieves the opportunity to recommence offending.
If you’re a shotgun certificate holder, make sure to secure your home against theft.
Shotgun certificate holders should review current security arrangements for the safe storage and movement of firearms, including:
– Ensure weapons are locked away at all times when not being used.
– Keys to the gun safe are secured away from safe itself and the location of these kept discrete.
– Ensuring windows and doors are locked when out or in the garden.
– Ensure alarm systems are maintained and serviced and provide appropriate coverage.
– Be aware of any suspicious activity such as people watching your property, or following you back from places where the shotgun may have been used/seen.
– Be aware of open talk about firearms ownership in public places which could lead to you being targeted by criminals.
– Be discreet about who you tell that you own firearms.
– Vehicles in which weapons are being carried should not be left unattended.
– Weapons carried should be secured to the vehicle chassis to prevent opportunist theft.
If you see anything suspicious please contact your local police force on 101. In an emergency please call 999.
From the feedback we have received regarding this since the Statutory Instrument was laid on 9th November, it is evident that not all members look at the News posts, Legislative Updates, etc., on our website.
Whilst this is an effective way of communicating with members, and available for all, it is passive. The Forum is more proactive although limited in who it may reach – this will change when we migrate to a new host.
For that reason I believe that it is worth recapping the process that led up to where we are, and in which we had been involved – indeed we were at its forefront. As you will remember we have been debating this issue strongly for over five years!
In December 2015 the Law Commission Report was published. HBSA as a lead in the stakeholders group, worked closely with them, gave considerable input and especially sought to preserve collectors’ interests. The Law Commission, and ourselves included, would have preferred a complete codification of firearms law, that is a full revision, but available resources did not permit this. However the Law Commission accepted our assurance that the system we have is fit for purpose. They accepted the police wish that it should become statutory to avoid ambiguity.
Subsequently we worked with the Home Office, and all parties involved including the police, NaBIS, the Minister and the APPG, speaking at conferences and on BBC’s Panorama.
Members may remember that I also spoke at the EU conference in Brussels regarding the EU Firearms Directive in coordination with FESAC and others. After a battle we felt that we had achieved 80% plus of what we sought.
All this was detailed in Legislative Reports and News posts at the time and as far as circumstances allowed.
The Policing and Crime Act was then published in 2017, establishing the statutory definition of antique, and subject to a Statutory Instrument.
The details of the date, definition of obsolete ignition/propulsion system and obsolete cartridge list have now finally been fixed in the Statutory Instrument just laid, having been delayed by Brexit, and now Covid 19.
As a result of our efforts the date in the guidance was retained. There was pressure to push it back which we resisted and would have been disastrous in its effect. The definition of obsolete propulsion and ignition systems, in which wording the government lawyers had input, does work.
We have always sought to expand the list of obsolete cartridges, with 23 going on. The additions sought are with maximum benefit to collectors in mind. Various others are still in debate and we will be creating a further list of cartridges to go on at next review from the 600 plus that we have listed with the Home Office.
As to the items to come off, we have never agreed that items should be taken off (which the 2017 Act does permit as well as putting items on), however must now face up to the fact that the Minister has taken that decision, notwithstanding all the arguments made. However we did secure the ability of collectors to retain their items on FAC, under section one. We had always insisted that the items remain “trade-able” and it is understood that Section 7.1 or 7.3 may be used, which would enable their heritage and financial values to be preserved as best possible by being moved between collectors or section 5 dealers. Other more flexible potential systems have also been proposed, both during discussions at the time and now. They are with the Home Office and we now await their news with a draft for further discussion.
I hope that this will remind everyone of the long process that went on and the efforts and time involved to secure what we have, often in the face of strong opposition.
Of course we also are working on other issues, together with BSSC, including the proposed Statutory Guidance, including medical evidence, potential prohibition of lead in ammunition, etc., which have been described in Legislative Updates, in addition to supporting members in many ways, especially resolving questions with their FLDs about collecting.
If there are any questions please do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
with best wishes
For members information the first link in the Home Office message, namely
which was sent with my website post on Monday includes the cartridges involved on pages 13 and 14 however for ease of reference the 7 cartridges removed from the obsolete list are:-
.320 British (also known as .320 Revolver CF, short or long)
.41 Colt (short or long)
.44 Smith & Wesson Russian
.442 Revolver (also known as .44 Webley)
9.4mm Dutch Revolver
10.6mm German Ordnance Revolver
11mm French Ordnance Revolver M1873 (Army)
There are 23 additions to the list.
.26 BSA (Rimless Belted Nitro Express)
.33 BSA (.33 Belted Rimless Nitro Express)
.360 No 2 Nitro Express
.40 BSA (.40 Belted Rimless Nitro Express)
.400/360 2 3/4 inch, Nitro Express
.425 Westley Richards Magnum
.475 3 1/4 inch Nitro Express
.475 No 2 Jeffery Nitro Express
.475 No 2 Nitro Express
.476 Nitro Express (.476 Westley Richards)
.50-90 2.5 inch
.50-110 2.4 inch
.577 – 3 inch (Black Powder & Nitro Express)
.577 – 3 1/4 inch (Black Powder & Nitro Express)
6.5 x 53mm R Mannlicher (Dutch/Romanian)
8 x 56 mm Mannlicher Schoenauer
8 x 58 mm R Krag
8 mm Murata
9 x 56 mm Mannlicher Schoenauer
9 x 57 mm R Mauser
9 x 57 mm Rimless Mauser
9.5 x 57 mm Mannlicher Schoenauer
8 mm Roth Steyr
As previously mentioned we are in touch with the Home Office who have had our input on the various issues that will arise and we await their news. We will be in touch with members as soon as we have something further to report.
We can report the following notice received today from the Home Office.
The Statutory Instrument laid is required to complete the relevant section (126) in the Policing & Crime Act 2017, in making the date and definitions statutory.
It requires assent by the two Houses in Parliament which is expected in the coming weeks.
This is as expected and we welcome the additions to the obsolete cartridge list and confirmation of the date. We had never agreed with the principle of taking items off the list (which was introduced in the 2017 Act). However we had sought a concession in maintaining trade-ability of those items which can be retained on Firearm Certificate and will be waiting to hear from the Home Office regarding the process.
Further information follows as soon as available.
The 2017 Act allows for future reviews of the statutory list and the Home Office have an extensive list of obsolete cartridges which may be added to it. We will continue to liaise with them regarding this.
The Government has today (9 November) laid regulations before Parliament that will define ‘antique firearm’ in law by reference to the type of cartridge it was designed to use, its propulsion system and its date of manufacture.
The regulations are laid under the Parliamentary affirmative resolution process requiring them to be debated by both Houses of Parliament. When made, the regulations will confirm 1 September 1939 as the cut-off date of manufacture. Seven cartridges currently included in the Home Office list of obsolete cartridges will be removed from the list and twenty-three will be added. Further details about these are contained in the Government’s response to the antique firearms consultation that closed in December 2017.
A link to the Government’s response is attached –
and a link to the Statutory Instrument is available here:
The Home Office have advised that this could not be laid today and they are now hoping for a date next week.
They will keep me advised.