The Unity Campaign – 2014 launch

A campaign led by Firearms-UK Association based upon our e-petition to HM Government, whom we respectfully request to make the necessary changes to the Firearms Act that would allow for .22 Rimfire pistols to be owned and used under the current section 1 certification system.

Shooting is one of the most enjoyable and inclusive sports there are, indeed almost everyone can participate in shooting of some form regardless of age, gender or physical ability, even visually impaired people can participate often competing directly with able bodied shooters. Shooting is also an interest that instills personal responsibility and discipline amongst its proponent’s, qualities that sometimes seem so neglected in modern society. It is a teaching aid encompassing so many science subjects. It is an incredibly social sport where lifelong friendships are forged, and a large contributor to the UK economy, its positive aspects are so often ignored or dismissed in today’s Britain.

A quote from a Firearms UK - Unity campaign supporter

February 2014 saw an LBC97 Radio interview response to a listeners question by a high profile Political Party Leader in support of reconsideration of the UK Firearms Legislation to permit the return of prohibited firearms suggesting it is poorly drafted and unnecessary. Similarly national Newspaper’s have recently held online polls on their web sites in which significant support was in favour of the return of some prohibited firearms. These polls will contain responses from both shooters and non-shooters suggesting not inconsiderable public support for common sense approaches to legislation.

The recent hosting of the Olympic Games in London 2012, the pending Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014 and the success and popularity of the shooting events, in addition to non sporting support already alluded to, and as a direct result of feedback from Firearms UK supporters and followers leads us to the conclusion the time is right to start this campaign that will enable the people of the UK to participate in this internationally recognised sport that is currently unavailable to the majority of the law abiding population.

We understand that “.22 pistols shooting” may not be of interest to all shooters but it was once a very popular and heavily participated activity so we encourage all firearms enthusiasts to support our petition in an act of support for shooting in general and as an act of solidarity which will set the scene for future challenges.

This initiative is one of many positive actions by Firearms UK working with the shooting community that will serve to redress the balance of UK law in favour of law abiding firearms enthusiasts.

Please follow this link to sign the official e-petition.


Why call the campaign Unity?

Unity is what we are striving to achieve as Firearms UK. Unite people to achieve the objectives of this campaign and also Unity of the UK shooting communities for the benefit of all.

How long will the Unity campaign run?

The Unity campaign will run for approximately 15 months.

Why a petition?

It is to establish the principle with both the shooting communities and the Legislature and show that there is a united will of many, many people supporting the petition for the return of .22 pistols for sporting shooting.

Why launch the petition at this time?

The timing is crucial to delivering the campaign objectives. During 2014 we have the European Elections, the Scottish Referendum and then the General Election 2015. The petition is timed to conclude prior to the General Election and give Firearms UK time to collate and present the results in time for presentation early in the new Parliament.

Is the petition wording correct?

Following the launch of the Unity campaign on 20th March we are aware that uncertainty and criticism has arisen regarding the wording of the petition that signified the launch of what will be a year long venture. The petition has been extensively checked to ensure it is effective and does not invoke other legislative default conditions.

Why is the purpose of the petition not explained more within the published wording?

The Government e-petition web site limits submissions to 1000 characters, consequently the wording needed to be concise whilst establishing the principle aim of the task plus explain the objective to a wide audience. An extended version of the petition text, originally prepared for publication can be viewed here.

As petition signatures are gained what happens?

Once the petition reaches the 10,000 mark there will be an interim response from the Home Office as the department responsible stating the Government position at that time. Should the petition reach its target 100,000 signatures the petition will go forward for debate by the Backbench Business Committee of Parliament.

Who are your supporters?

We have numerous and widespread support from a number of organisations from many areas of interest and activity from Country Sports to organisations supporting Disability Sports. Please see the ‘Supporters’ and ‘More Supporters’ sections for representations of the campaigns official supporters.

Are you trying to obtain more and wider support?

We have, and continue to consult widely with Organisations, groups, Professional bodies and more. It would be inappropriate to publish negotiation, consultation and discussion on any public media or forum. We have support from main stream Shooting Organisations and believe the strategy we pursue is both robust and with the full support of Shooters will bring results.

Do you think people have the right impression of shooting Sports?

No. Shooting Sports have been, and continue to be subject to bad press often due to being wrongly associated with tragedy and criminal activity. The Shooting Sports and activities are legal and carried out by law abiding, caring, safe and sensible people, and bear no resemblance to the media portrayal, misinformation, dramatisation and hype.

If small bore pistol shooting were made legal again, what difference would it make?

To shooting sport, professionals, athletes, Olympians, club shooters, and many more it would make an enormous difference freeing up the ability to participate, train and practice in a real time, realistic situations instead of being forced to use simulated conditions and equipment. It would allow new young talent to be nurtured and developed into the sport, it would allow sponsorship to be enhanced and above all contribute financially to the UK economic recovery.

Would public safety be at any more risk?

A carefully considered response to that question is NO! Small bore pistol shooting would be limited to the use of .22 long rifle rimfire type ammunition; it is of relatively low power when compared to other types of ammunition already freely available to Certificate holders and competitors. It is highly unlikely the wider non shooting public would even be aware of any change?

Why is it not allowed now then?

The original draft of the 1997 Firearms Act did not include this type of equipment or sporting activity, it was added as a direct result of additional legislation late in 1997 following the election of the new Government who forced the introduction of the 1997 Firearms Amendment (No2) Act enacting this restriction.

So who is the sport aimed at?

Everyone, literally everyone. Shooting is an all inclusive sport, it is non discriminatory, it caters for all ages and abilities, it teaches safety, respect, discipline and responsibility and offers opportunity to many whose restricted abilities through varying conditions limits their choices of other sports, even blind people can shoot!

Is it safe, it is using guns after all?

It is absolutely safe when practised using recognised procedures taught properly by qualified and, or experienced people. It is by nature one of the very safest sports available. Firearm ownership and use is strictly regulated by law, club, range rules and personal responsibility.

I don’t like Guns, they kill people don’t they?

Do they? Consider that for a moment, when was the last time a gun acted alone, without the input of a person, and even then to become dangerous the person has to have and demonstrate intent. Despite the rhetoric guns are safe when used properly and treated with the respect they deserve and demand.

FAQ V.01; last updated 13th April 2014

To raise awareness of the Unity campaign our first of a series of posters have now been produced. This first version in addition to raising awareness of the campaign generally, aims to promote participation in the official e-petition and includes links to both this page and the petition itself. The poster also provides a snap shot of some of the campaigns official supporters.

More posters will be produced and distributed as the campaign progresses. A quantity of professionally printed copies of this first poster are available whilst stocks last, if you would like to display these printed copies please send your request to

Unity Campaign Poster: April 2014

Having surpassed the first milestone of 10,000 signatures the petition has received the following official response.

10,000 signatures official Government response

The Government continues to monitor all aspects of the current controls on firearms. There are, however, no plans to re-categorise any weapons within the Firearms Acts or to repeal any of the existing bans.

The Government recognises that people who compete at international level in any sport need to train on a regular and intensive basis. The special arrangements that permitted British pistol squad members to have to access to secure facilities in the UK to enable them to carry out their training in advance of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London will continue for squad members in preparation for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the 2016 Olympic and Paralympics Games in Rio.

This e-petition remains open to signatures and will be considered for debate by the Backbench Business Committee should it pass the 100 000 signature threshold.

The following sections show our official counter to the above Government response, and responses sent to us for publication from Unity supporters.

Firearms UK counter response

Firearms UK welcome the Home Office published response to the petition for the return of .22 pistols for sporting purposes. The Unity campaign is not just a petition but a sustained and prolonged campaign to support this opening initiative.

We express our thanks and gratitude to all who have already signed and urge help with a wider awareness.

There will be further initiatives to publicise and incentivise campaign support throughout the coming months, explaining the purpose and spreading awareness in support of all those who participate, or wish to participate both at professional and amateur levels.

We urge everyone to look at the Unity Campaign objectively, understand its principles and support GB Athletes, sports persons and everyone else who wishes to pursue this all inclusive and enjoyable sport.

Unity supporter responses…

Welsh Pistol Shooter; Nicola Wilson

“As a supporter of Unity I have received an e-mail to say that it has reached over 13000 signatures and something that the government has in place a system to help athletes train. Well in my opinion its not enough, I live in wales and cannot afford to travel to Bisley and then if I could that would be only once a month. I go to a lovely range in Swansea where I train air pistol and if I could shoot .22 there too then I could train every day, giving me a fair playing field with the rest of the world. The ban on .22 pistols is not punishing criminals, it is punishing the innocent people who love shooting as a sport, and for those international shooters a massive disadvantage when being able to train and compete. A lift on the ban would allow athletes to train every day and not just that, but give new shooters the chance to try the sport. The ban has not reduced gun crime. It has solved nothing.”

Unity Supporter; Sean Boyd

“I totally support your .22rf pistol petition.”

“While I am highly unlikely ever to be a good enough shot to represent my country, my kids, who are both very keen shots (with rifles and shotgun) may wish the opportunity to try competitive pistol shooting. Who knows they may be the next Olympic Gold medalists. Yet they are discriminated against. They are not permitted to train at their local shooting club. The nearest “authorised” pistol range is hundreds of miles away. Their local club is perfectly suitable for .22rf pistol shooting (and did so before the ban) so why can’t they practice there?
It is out and out discrimination and not in keeping with the Olympic Charter.”

The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.

Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement

Supported by…

The British Association for Shooting & Conservation logoDisability Target Shooting Great Britain logoGun Trade News logoScottish Association for Country Sports logo

Please email us to discuss supporting Unity.

More supporters

The Sportsman's Association logoUmarex Boys Club logoRACKNLOAD Community logoUniversity of Kent Shooting Society logo
Swadlincote Rifle and Pistol Club logoCZ Rifles UK logoValmont Firearms UK logoJuniper Green Air Rifle Club (JGARC) logo
Waveney Shooting Club logoJD RELOADING LTD logoUKPSA logoSport4_all logo
Stutley logo

Further reading

Firearms UK ‘Blog Posts’ related to the Unity campaign
E-petition to allow ownership & use of .22 calibre Rimfire Pistols
E-Petition For The Ownership And Use of .22LR Pistols For Sporting Purposes…
The new PACEC report
We’re winners at this sport, so why ban it?

  • Shooting Times, 2nd April 2014, Page 4, Petition to legalise .22 pistols starts with a bang
  • Shooting Times, 9th April 2014, Page 10, Letter of the week; Fired up over pistol petition
  • Shooting Times, 23rd April 2014, Page 5, Petition on pistols hits 10k mark
  • Shooting Times, 23rd April 2014, Page 11, Readers’ Letters; No support here
  • Sporting Rifle, 25th April 2014, Page 72, Target News; Pistol Petition
  • BASC Magazine; Shooting and Conservation, May / June 2014, Page 15, Support pistol petition
  • Sporting Gun, June 2014, Page 47, Time to sign the pistol petition
  • Sporting Gun, June 2014, Page 48, Promoting unity among shooters
  • Shooting Times, 11th June 2014, Pages 26-27, Changing Attitudes to Firearms
  • Daily Mail, 8th October 2014, Page 55, We’re winners at this sport, so why ban it?

Videos featuring Unity Campaign
The Shooting Show: March 31st 2014
Call To Action “UK Gun Owners Need You!!!
A Call to Action concerning Olympic .22 Target Pistols UK 2014
Fieldsports Channel News – Trophy Crocs Ruling
Call To Action Update 12th April
UK .22 Pistol Petition to Repel the Hand Gun Ban
English Shooting: Handgun Ban is…

Unity Campaign Gallery

The following gallery features a selection of photos which have been sent to us in support of the Unity campaign. The gallery will be updated periodically to display new photos, if you wish to have something included please e-mail us at

©2023 Firearms UK.


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