SUZANNE Jones's recent letter (Wilts and Glos Standard, October 25) criticising Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown's stance on the Offensive Weapons Bill currently before parliament may have been headline-grabbing to promote a Green Party event, but Sir Geoffrey is actually doing exactly what a good MP should.

Far from being 'against (the) bill', he has merely tabled sensible amendments to Clauses 28 & 29.

He is being supported by an increasing number of MPs (from across the House) who believe that, in the absence of any evidence from the Home Office, Police or others to support their position, an outright ban of this type of target rifle cannot be justified.

Instead, a better (and more cost-effective) option would be to more formally specify the enhanced security measures that Home Office Guidelines (and existing Police powers) already allow for this type of firearm.

Suzanne should know that, where proposed legislation fundamentally changes or curbs the rights of citizens, parliamentary rules require that such changes be shown to be necessary, proportionate and, above all, be evidence-based, none of which was the case here.

However, the underlying (and more worrying) issue, something this ban proposal was designed to distract our attention from, is that the Bill, wide-ranging though it is, does not tackle the increasing number of illegal firearms in UK (now estimated to exceed 500,000).

Dealing with this would require massive increases in resource, especially Police and Border Force, so the Home Office has instead selected a more convenient 'target' (a small number of target rifles, belonging to a small group of licensed long-range target shooters).

By inventing (no evidence cited) and promoting these as a 'threat' (often using emotive and misleading language), elements could then be inserted into the Bill to alleviate this 'threat' and UK citizens would believe that firm, decisive action was being taken to keep them safe.

Instead, a highly regulated, law-abiding minority would be penalised in the name of public safety (and at little cost), whilst the law-breakers remained unchallenged and unhindered.

Instead of being criticised, Sir Geoffrey should be commended for insisting that parliament adheres to its own rules and standards, that a public deception is avoided, that law-abiding minorities are not used to scapegoat wider failures within government, and that common-sense prevails.

Crispin M G A Scott