Dear Editor

SUZANNE Jones’ letter about large target rifles is misleading in the extreme when she refers to them being on “our streets”.

Anyone possessing one of these rifles for target shooting will have had to submit himself to the police run firearms licensing regime.

In doing that he will have to convince the local Chief Constable that he has access to a range where the rifle can be used safety and that he has the appropriate security measures in place to safeguard them when not in use.

If he cannot do this then he will not be granted a Firearm Certificate.

Rifles are seldom ever used in crime because their size makes them hard to conceal and consequently unattractive to the armed criminal. If that is so for a conventional target rifle weighing about 10Lb, then one that weighs 35lb is not at all desirable to armed criminals who prefer pistols.

Handguns continue to proliferate in armed crime despite having been banned from public possession in 1997. Criminals do not find it hard to import handguns into the UK from Eastern Europe in boats and vehicles through the UK’s porous borders.

The police should be targeting their efforts to stemming the flow of illegal guns into the UK rather than going after a mere 129 large target rifles that they licence anyway.

Bill Harriman

Director of Firearms, BASC and forensic firearms examiner.

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation