A number of residents wrote to me earlier in the year raising concerns about the future of rifle shooting as a sport. I am writing to provide you with a brief update on the situation.
The proposal to prohibit .50 calibre or higher rifles as part of the Offensive Weapons Bill has been removed from the Bill. It is essential that legislation needs to be based on facts and proportionate to the crimes, the proposals put forward would have had a negative impact on sport shooting whilst having a very limited impact on preventing crime. Feedback from individuals, groups and crime statistics have so far made it clear that participation in sport shooting is not increasing violent crime as it is a highly regulated, community oriented past-time.
There will be further consultations on rifles and other firearms and I understand that the Home Office intends to work with sports shooting groups to not only help develop legislation around the sport but to ensure that shooting can remain an integral part of rural life, be it for providing jobs and sporting opportunities or delivering benefits for wildlife and habitat conservation.
I will continue to support and protect the right to engage in safe, legal shooting activities.