Are UK gun controls really the gold standard we think they are?

by Gun Control Network on 24-04-2020

Semi-automatic shotguns and rifles known as ‘Mass Casualty Weapons’ are surprisingly still legal in UK.

 In the past 13 months both New Zealand and now Canada have had horrific ‘wake up calls’ which have spurred their governments into action to ban semi-automatic guns.  Here in the UK most people probably think we have the gold standard of gun controls and that these deadly weapons are already banned here. This is not so.


British legislation still permits the buying, selling and ownership of semi-automatic shotguns and .22 calibre semi-automatic rifles, styled as military-assault rifles.   Both of the firearms pictured below, on the left a semi-automatic Hatsan Arms ‘Escort Raider’ 12-gauge shotgun and, on the right, a .22 calibre GSG-5 22LR semi-automatic rifle, are legally available to buy, sell and own in Britain today.

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Rifle and shotgun ownership has been rising. In order to qualify for a licence, applicants have to show ‘good reason’ for wanting to own such a weapon.  One of the accepted justifications is membership of a shooting club and participation in shooting sports. But, just  as in the 1990s the shooting community (in the form of the UK Practical Shooting Association) has come up with a ‘rationale’ - Practical Shotgunning.  

An article in The Times in March 2019 (, described it as the ‘fastest growing firearms discipline’.  We need to challenge why this country, with its supposedly tight gun laws, still allows ownership of weapons as potentially dangerous as these.


Peter Squires from the Gun Control Network says:

 “Given the potential risks that such weapons, in the wrong hands, would represent and given the terrorist and security concerns, we need to close the Mass Casualty Firearm loophole before we are shocked into it by another tragedy of our own”.