Plans to change firearm laws not supported by evidence, says BASC

Following a meeting with the Home Office, BASC says it is opposed to plans to ban ownership of .50 calibre rifles and other rifles based on the Manually Activated Release System (MARS).

The Home Office is expected to launch a public consultation later this week which will propose the transfer of those firearm categories from the general licensing arrangements to the stricter provisions of section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968. The consultation will also consider restricting the online sale of knives.

The UK’s largest shooting organisation believes there is a lack of evidence to support further regulation of .50 cal and MARS-type guns. BASC understands that there are no plans to change legislation around other rifles.

Bill Harriman, BASC’s director of firearms, said: “BASC is opposed the Home Office proposal to prohibit the ownership of .50 cal rifles and those rifles based on the Manually Activated Release System on the grounds that they are not evidence-based as well as being contrary to the principles of better regulation.

“These types of firearm are not found in large numbers in the UK and are held on the authority of police-issued firearm certificates, which involves a stringent process whereby the applicant has to prove they have good reason to be granted one.

“The firearms now under consideration can only be used for target shooting on properly constructed firing ranges. Furthermore, they have no history of use in armed crime.

“BASC will continue to challenge proposals for changes in legislation which it believes lack the fundamental evidence to support a change. BASC will ensure that the views of its members will be represented as part of the consultation process.”

The Home Office has also announced it will consult on proposals to restrict the online sale of knives so they cannot be delivered to a private residential address and must instead be collected at a place where age ID can be checked.


For more information, please contact BASC's press office on 01244 573007 or email