UNITY 2015 The Next Step

Campaign for the Repeal of the Firearms (Amendment) No.2 Act 1997

June 1997 saw the introduction of the bill following the change of Government in the preceding month’s general election. The original Firearms No.1 Act was introduced in the February of 1997 as a result of a horrendous, but single incident at Dunblane in Scotland. This Firearms No.1 Act 1997 introduced the prohibitions on high calibre (In excess of .22 calibre (5.6 mm)) pistol ownership in the UK. At the time of the enactment of the Firearms No.1 Act 1997 it was not deemed necessary to include .22 Calibre pistols.

As a direct result of .22 Calibre pistols remaining available to Firearms Certificate holders in the UK the very popular and all inclusive sport of .22 pistol shooting was allowed to continue, indeed even the British Olympic Team were able to continue training in the UK legitimately.

The change of UK Government in the May of 1997 saw a change in attitude and approach, and it was this new Government that in December 1997 introduced the Act to extend the class of prohibited weapons under the Firearms Act 1968 to include small-calibre pistols. It is worth noting at this point that Firearms UK would challenge the use of the word weapon as a descriptor because firearms for sporting purposes are not used as weapons in the normally accepted sense of the term.

The immediate and stark effect of the additional prohibitions brought about by the introduction of the Firearms (Amendment) No.2 Act 1997 saw a legitimate and popular sporting activity abolished in the UK for what still to this day seem less than objective criteria and because it was not seen as appropriate for inclusion in the original legislation one could be forgiven for concluding it was a politically populist move it was not evidence based because evidence, if any exists, is slight and less than objective. Perhaps most strikingly an immediate consequence was that the British Olympic Team were now prohibited from practicing their sport in the UK and for many years after were required to travel out of the UK to train, it must however be noted that this situation has somewhat changed in that some relaxation of restriction for Elite certificate holders, and some concessions on training facility have been made, but only quite recently. What has not changed is the situation for .22 pistol shooting at club level for ordinary individual certificate holders, we ordinary shooters who enjoy our sporting activities, it therefore raises the question why ordinary certificate holders, whom like their Elite counterparts, have been through the same process of background checks to be granted certification and by that grant have been deemed to be fit and proper persons to hold and use firearms, yet are still not permitted to own and use such sporting equipment as .22 pistols in a standard specification, not to be confused with long barrelled pistols which are a modified variant of the recognised standard. This leads immediately to a second question, is that fair and just treatment under the law for proven law abiding people? It becomes a matter of trust.

In 2014/2015 Firearms UK ran an e-petition on the Government’s web site calling for the repeal of the Firearms (Amendment) No.2 Act 1997. The petition ran for one year ending on March 20th 2015. It obtained a little over 21,000 signatures, a good response providing a real opportunity on which we can build. The petition was part of a wider campaign called ‘Unity’ and was the opening gambit in seeking to unite in strength against unwarranted and non–evidential restrictions on the UK shooting communities. It is a measure of the Unity campaign’s legitimacy that it was supported and publicised by many high profile and professional shooting organisations, for which Firearms UK are eternally grateful.

The Next Step.
We have a new Government, an administration that has declared it is supportive of legitimate sporting shooting, this, we now hope brings new opportunities to see some evidential based objectivity brought to bear when considering the consents for law abiding sports men and women, indeed the Government were clear in their stance on there being no need to rush to judgement following the 2010 Cumbria incident, a welcome return to common sense politics. It is also important to mention that the new Government has a manifesto commitment to consider again the Hunting Act 2004, legislation similarly enacted it is suggested as populist politics not evidence based science or statistical representation.

We are to take another opportunity to call for the following which is what the former e-petition aspired to achieve:
1. Repeal the Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997
2. Amend the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 such that the following sections remain repealed:
a. Section 12, 1(c)
b. Section 13

Prior to the recent general election Firearms UK sent out a questionnaire to all candidates asking seven basic questions about support, or otherwise for firearms ownership and sporting shooting. Question seven specifically posed the following:

“If you support UK citizen’s rights to participate in shooting sports do you also support changing the law to permit .22 pistols to be used for competitive shooting thus allowing ordinary UK citizens to properly train to enable them to compete in international events such as the Olympic and Commonwealth games?”

Many of the candidates responded, yes there were some who see firearms ownership as a problem, but there are many more who do not and indeed are very supportive of both firearms ownership and sporting shooting. Listed below are some of the names that stand out in their willingness to respond positively:

Rishi Sunak, Liam Fox, Christopher Chope, Daniel Kawczynski, Danny Kinahan, Scott Mann, David Nuttall, Mark Garnier, Kelly Tolhurst, David Mowat, Sir Edward Garnier, Sir Roger Gale, Dominic Grieve.

This is where YOU are invited, no actively encouraged to get involved, stand up, not stand back, support is not someone else’s responsibility, it is not just the shooting organisations job to protect your activities because you may pay a membership fee, they are only as strong as their membership who gets up and gets involved, we here at Firearms UK believe very strongly we all have a part to play, we must support everyone’s individual choice to shoot what discipline, or disciplines they wish, without prejudice or criticism of that choice, for unless we stand together , we will remain under threat and never move forward.

What we WILL do.
Firearms UK have written to the Prime Minister to raise awareness. We have written to The Home Department with specific proposals. We have written to the Minister for Culture, Media and Sport in a similar vein. We will be writing to newly elected Members of Parliament, particularly those who expressed their support via the questionnaire, but nonetheless we will be writing to as many, if not all those who are now in Government but also to those in opposition who similarly expressed support via their responses to our questionnaire, and previous polls and questions.

What we ask of YOU.
We request and implore that you show your support for the repeal of the Firearms (Amendment) No.2 Act 1997 by writing to your MP as a constituent requesting their support for the same action by Government to reinvigorate the sport of .22 pistol shooting. It would be better still if we all wrote to those MP’s named on the list above as well as the MP for our individual constituency, we can never express too much support, and just think what an impression we may make if all those who signed the petition were to similarly write to an MP?

To make this easier here is the link to the Government web site where your MP’s name and contact details can be found, and an alternative is

Other shooting organisations also provide access links to Members of Parliament and these links are also available to make representations too if you wish. Firearms UK do not compete with anyone hence we are a non-membership Association who promote all shooting disciplines and will happily support and work with everyone for the betterment of the sport.

Now to make this easier still here are some notes for guidance to assist with your letter, simply formulate your own body of text for an e-mail, or written as a formal letter and attached to an e-mail, or written formally and sent by the wonders of the postal services; we simply ask that we stick to facts and positive messages.

Notes for guidance
Please take care if you cut and paste, or copy and paste these notes into your letter or e-mail text, how you do so, and ensuring a sense of individuality is important. MP’s receiving numerous contacts all saying the same thing in what is clearly a pre-formatted form will eventually tire and ignore the contact, and its content. It is important that the message comes across as personal, genuine and all from a real desire for progress and trust. It is polite and gracious to congratulate them on their appointment as a Member of the Westminster Parliament and wish them every success in their time as a representative of their constituents, including you where appropriate. Thank you.

Please consider:
Mention why you are writing.
1. Mentioning Firearms UK and their Unity 2015 Campaign.
2. Refer to the Firearms UK pre-election questionnaire regarding their stance on firearms ownership and use, and that it had a good and positive response from respondents.

Please include in your text the following formal request:
I therefore support and request that the Government:
1. Repeal the Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997
2. Amend the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 such that the following sections remain repealed:
a. Section 12, 1(c)
b. Section 13

Please mention, or allude to the following in your letter or e-mail:
a) The Firearms (Amendment) No.2 Act 1997 was introduced by the newly elected Government in December 1997, this specific act not being considered necessary for inclusion in the original legislation by the Government incumbent in February 1997 when the Firearms No.1 Act 1997 was introduced.

b) That you are adding your support to the request that the sport of .22 target pistol shooting be once more permitted under the existing Section 1 Licencing scheme of the 1968 Firearms Act that this is requested also to allow the much loved and all inclusive sporting discipline to flourish once more for ordinary shooting enthusiasts. Consider making a clear distinction between Long Barrelled Pistols and what is being requested.

c) Consider quoting from PACEC 2014 ((c)Shooting and Countryside Organisation)

d) The economic and physical benefits of shooting sports are many and it should be encouraged to prosper further by the change in restriction being sought. Those eligible are already subject to stringent background checks by Police, including medical criteria, so to be certificated is an assurance that the holder is a fit and proper law abiding person to own and use lawful firearms.

e) When writing to your MP please be aware their knowledge of shooting sports may be limited, may we suggest that if you are willing and able you include an invitation to take them shooting, or invite them to observe, and show them the realities of the sport.

We at Firearms UK are very clear, this does not call for any changes to the way the UK administers the suitability of people to own and use firearms, we simply ask that if you are deemed suitable and a fit and proper person to own and use firearms in the UK we are once more trusted and free to pursue an all-inclusive and once very popular sporting activity.

WE INVITE YOU TO GET INVOLVED TO HELP REINVIGORATE THIS ONCE VERY POPULAR SPORT, BOOST BUSINESS AND SUPPORT CHOICE FOR LAW ABIDING SHOOTERS.

6 responses to “UNITY 2015 The Next Step

  1. It should be a repeal of the whole act but, if granted, that all short firearms should be used in club, county or national sanctioned competitions, not held as gun safe items.

  2. Steve Davidson

    Might be tempted if you include all small calibre handguns up to .455. It was the 1997 Government who wrongly and deliberately categorised handguns above .22 as high calibre to hype up their ban proposals. Though I’m sure the return of .22s would be welcome, there are thousands of ex-pistol shooters who would like to see the full repeal of the Act.

    • Agreed there should be no calibre restrictions, however we need to make small steps

    • As above Steve please write to your MP on this issue, we must take small steps. It is important to lay the foundations just now and build from there. To do that we really need the support of all shooters.

  3. John.M.Woodward

    John Woodward,
    I heartily agree with the “all calibre”sentiment,but let’s start with the thin end of the wedge.
    I never had a penny for my pistols!.

  4. Ask a fair question yourselves, before the ban, people in this country had better rights, and what was the level of violence with guns at that time??????????????????????????????. I complete in favour for responsible people to have a firearm for protection and sport in this country. Free people own guns, slaves don’t !

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