Tories vote to remove High Powered Weapons Ban from bill
Conservative MPs have voted to remove a ban on high powered 50. Calibre rifles as part of a new offensive weapons bill, despite warnings from senior Police officers.
The last known illegal use of the weapons was by the Provisional IRA in Northern Ireland, prior to the Good Friday agreement in the 1990s.
However the Police have warned the rifles could be used by criminals to disable vehicles, including armoured cars.
Mark Groothuis, a firearms licensing liaison officer for counter-terrorism policing, told MPs that “if one of these guns were to be stolen, again with the ammunition, and if it were to get into terrorist hands, it could be very difficult to fight against or to protect against”.
Despite this, Tory backbenchers and the DUP said they would vote against the measure, leading Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, to remove the proposed ban.
Louise Haigh MP, Labour’s Shadow Policing and Crime Minister labelled the decision as "staggering".
“Senior officers have warned the police have no known protection against these destructive weapons and yet Ministers have trooped through the lobby to remove this ban from their own Bill." she added.
“This Tory Government is so weak that they are failing in their most basic duty of keeping the public safe.”
Tory MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on shooting and conservation, said that he welcomed the decision as "proportionate, based on the facts and consulted on with stakeholders."
"The home secretary is right to announce further consultations and has my full support for securing an evidence-based result on this and other firearms issues.”