So a friend invited me to the shooting range about 3 weeks ago and I went. It was pretty fun and I found that I am a bad shot (lol). Anyway he was telling me about the new arms act amendments which will stop allowing "free standing pistol grips" on rifles namely AR15 and AK style sporting rifles. The guy had a couple of bolt action .22s, a AR15 with .22 upper receiver and 7 shot semi auto shotgun.
So with all that's going on in the US I decided to check it out. this act seems to stem from a case in 2010 where police decided that a stock where you could wrap your fingers around in a more vertical position than your stock standard rifle constituted a "free standing military grip" as was in the arms act and wanted everyone with that type of gun to either get rid of it or upgrade to a higher end license called E-Cat which is more stringent, expensive etc.
It seems ridiculous to me as I can't see how the grip of the rifle can turn a sporting rifle into a military style semi automatic or "assault rifle" as the americans calls it. E.g. this rifle is currently classed as a normal sporting rifle and the basic A Cat license can buy them:
However once the act changes this becomes a military semi automatic. Now take this rifle which won't become a military semi automatic:
At the end of the day they both do the same thing, are more or less the same dimensions and are as dangerous as each other. The current limitation on semi automatic rifles is a 7 round maximum magazine. It doesn't matter if there is a pistol grip if someone lets loose with something like this, they both do the same damage. Man that 7 round semi auto shotgun would cause 100 times more damage than the semi auto .22 AR15 yet it is still allowed while the AR15 isn't. It is also legal to buy a 30 round magazine (but not if you owned a gun which can accept it, I'm sure all the criminals follow that) without ANY license. So I could quite easily buy a semi auto rifle with a basic license (with no pistol grip), get a 30 round magazine and be as crazy a gunman.
Anyway the way I read this new act, it looks like the police got pissy they lost the court case about the definition of the grip so cried to the government about it. The fact it was all about the grip and doesn't consider things like the magazine size loophole is stupid. It seems so inconsequential to me but people like my friend are really stuck because he has to buy a new (more expensive) gun safe, get a more stringent license where the police can flip a coin and grant it for him or not.
Anyway what prompted me to write this was the dumb cop shooting at a shark yesterday. I remember when they shot the courier driver too. I'm not really sure they are better at handling fire-arms than people who use them on a daily basis yet they are trying to tell control people's access to firearms...