Below are some details of the shamefull way the Home Office acted in trying to prevent the production of the Britarms Long Pistol.
Before I commenced work on resurrecting the Britarms as a Long Pistol, I contacted My local Firearms licensing department to ask their views on the pistols legality. They contacted the Home Office who could see no problems with the pistol. So I commenced work on making and testing the prototype Britarms Long Pistol.
When I sent my Firearms Certificate in for variation, I asked for something in writing from the Home Office, so I could tell my customers exactly what they should ask for, when requesting a variation to their FAC in order to be able to purchase a Britarms LP.
This prompted a change of heart from the Home Office who now "think" it may be a prohibited firearm under section 5 of the Firearms act.
Here are some of the relevant E mails
Email 18 May 2004 to Wiltshire Firearms Licencing Dept.
Further to our telephone conversations about the Britarms .22 Semi automatic Long Pistol.
Could you please confirm for me, what my customers should ask for, when requesting for a variation to put a Westlake Britarms 5 shot .22 semi Automatic Long Pistol, on to their FAC, in order to ensure that they are unlikely to have problems from other police forces.
Any references to relevant Home Office literature you could provide would also be of great help, should someone run into a less well informed firearms department in another county.
I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for your help.
Email 3rd. June 2004 from the Home Office
Dear Mr Westlake,
I am sorry it has taken so long to get back to you, but I have been discussing the status of the Britarm with senior officers and a final view has only just crystallized.
Although the Morini Pardini, a long barrelled single shot target pistol with counterbalance arms was recently held by a court not to be a prohibited weapon, the judge was careful to say that the judgment applied specifically to the Morini and nothing else. His determination was based, in part at least, on the fact that the Morini's counterbalance arms were not easily detachable. He went on to say that "if other pistols with other types of rods came to be considered, then other considerations might apply".
In the case of the Britarm, one of these other considerations might be firepower. The Morini is single shot whereas the Britarm offers five rounds without recharging.
In view of this, the Home Office is minded to play this on the cautious side and conclude that, unless proven otherwise, the Britarm is a weapon prohibited by section 5(1)(aba) of the Firearms Act 1968 (as amended).
Of course, this is only an opinion. Ultimately, only a court of law can make a definitive judgement on the status of any particular firearm
Email 3rd. June 2004 To Home Office
It would be an understatement to say that I find your decision disappointing. I find it hard to understand the reasoning behind it. Before I spend time and effort on preparing a case, please ask your superiors to reconsider their decision and to take into account the enclosed picture. The upper firearm is a Ten shot.22LR Browning Buckmark Carbine, less the Woodwork, it is 27 inches long. The lower is the Eight shot Brno Kora .22 LR Revolver Carbine, less the stock. It is approximately 25 inches long.
If these are section 1 Firearms, how can you justify refusing the Britarms on account of Firepower? Furthermore, the pistol will be eligible for use in all the competitions that the NSRA are organising for the single shot Long pistols, and eligible for use in international Free pistol competitions. So you cannot say that there are no legitimate competitions for it. Also, after the 2004 Olympics the Rapid fire competition must be shot with .22 Standard Pistols. Our National Rapid fire squad would be able to train in this country with a Long Pistol, then use their Standard Pistol abroad.
If you can tell me how, in any way, this pistol does not comply with the Firearms Laws, I will see if it can be modified to comply. I thought I had manufactured a pistol that did comply and I will appreciate your advice on the matter.
I look forward to an early reply.
Email 3rd. June 2004 From the Home Office
Dear Mr Westlake,
I was under the impression that my message of 3 June had answered your question. Our current opinion is that the Britarm is probably a weapon prohibited by s5(1)(aba) of the Firearms Act 1968 (as amended). That will continue to be our opinion unless and until a court of law decides otherwise.
So there you have it. Perhaps if I had been a Bulgarian Business man things may have been different. As far as the Home Office is concerned I and the Wiltshire Police must fight it out in Court, please also note that Wiltshire Rate payers will foot the Bill, not the Home Office Budget. Oh, and me of course.
Sitrep on 10th September 2004
The Wiltshire Police have just refused to revoke my FAC in respect of the Britarms prototype. The force Armourer has inspected the pistol and it was taken to an ACPO meeting in the West Country. Nobody could say why it might be Section 5. So they say it is a Section 1 Firearm and I may have it on my FAC for Target shooting.
However the Home Office today reiterated their position that they "think" it "may" be section 5.I think the Moon may be made from cream cheese, but the facts indicate otherwise. The Home Office Ministers wishes don't necessarily make it so.
I am writing to all the police Authorities to ask if they will issue Variations for the pistol, I will let you know how I get on.In the mean time. If you want a Britarms Long Pistol, the price is £950.00.
Contact your local firearms office and if they will give you a variation, send me a £50,00 deposit and I will commence to make you one.I look forward to hearing from you.Alan Westlake.
Sitrep at 24th September 2004
On my return from a trip to France I found I have received a letter dated 15th September from the Secretary of ACPO Administration of Firearms and Explosives Licensing Committee.
He tells me that the Sub Committee will be meeting on 23rd September and "The Chair Mr. Simon Taylor, would like to take the opportunity to discuss issues concerning the categorisation of this gun at this upcoming meeting"
So, I am waiting to hear what the result of their disscusions has been. I will let you all know as soon as I hear from them again.Keep taking the pills, Alan.
Sitrep on 12th October 2004
I had a Phone call from one of the ACPO members asking me if I was building the pistols from scratch or if I was adapting Britarms Pistols to Long Pistols...... I explained that I was using the "unfinished" parts that the Home Office refused to compensate me for, (They would only pay for parts completed and ready for sale in quantities of ten or more) and that I had asked to be returned to me. I then manufacture any parts I am short of to make the complete "Long Pistol"
Did they really think that I would convert a section 5 pistol into a Long Pistol ? Don't they realise that its against the Law ?
Anyway that was on the 27th or 28th I can't remember precisely. I have heard nothing since.
I got fed up waiting for an answer, so I have started work on a Prototype Britarms .22 Semi Auto Carbine. I hope to have it completed for you to look at during the Trafalger Meeting at Bisley on 23/24 October 2004.
I will let you know the results of the deliberations of ACPO as soon as they tell me.
I must get some more pills. Alan.
Sitrep on 21/10/04
I received the following letter this morning.
Association of Chief Police Officers of England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Simon P. Taylor B.Ed, M.A., Dip.App.Crim., FCMI
Assistant Chief Constable for the Norfolk Constabulary
Chairman of the Administration of Firearms and Explosives Licensing Committee
Date 15th October 2004
Dear Mr Westlake,
Britarms Long Arm Pistol
Thank you for your letter concerning the Britarms Long Arm Pistol which has been previously acknowledged-and also the information you provided to ACC Adrian Whiting which has been considered. I write in my capacity of Chair of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Firearms and Explosives Licensing Sub-Committee and therefore represent the views of ACPO.
The categorisation of the Britarms Long Arm Pistol was discussed at the last meeting of the subcommittee following previous examination of the weapon. It is my considered opinion that this weapon falls within the parameters that define a section 1 firearm as long as the gun has not at any time been a section 5 firearm.
I have informed all police forces in England and Wales of this decision. I stress that this is an opinion and ultimately the decision as to the categorisation of this weapon lies with the Courts. Obviously, the Courts will only be called upon should a chief constable feel it necessary to make a local decision to challenge this opinion by refusing to add such a gun to a firearms certificate.If you have any further queries then please contact my staff officer, inspector Kris Barnard, on DD: XXXXXXXXXXor kkkkkk@kkkkkkkk.( DELETED SO YOU CAN'T SPAM THE POOR GUY, AS IF YOU WOULD THINK OF SUCH A THING ! A.W.)
Simon P Taylor
ACC Norfolk Constabulary
Chair, ACPO Administration of Firearms and Explosives Licensing Committee
So there you are folks,
It seems that we can prevail in spite of the blatant mis-use of power by the Home Office, to try to prevent this pistol from coming into production in spite of it complying with the Law as written, not as wished it was written by the Home Office.
They really are a bunch of XXXXXXXX arn't they.
If you are interested in having a Britarms made for you, give me a ring on 01722 782432 or Email me at email@example.com and put in for a variation for a Britarms Long Arm Pistol.
I look forward to hearing from you.