The Sportsman?s Association has criticised The Sun for a sensationalist front-page ?exclusive investigation? the newspaper ran last week which stated that LETHAL assault rifles like the one used in America?s Sandy Hook school massacre are being LEGALLY sold in Britain.
The article claimed that a Ruger SR-22 .22 rimfire advertised for sale by a Welsh militaria and firearms dealer, Arundel Militaria, was similar to an AR15-style semi-automatic .223 centrefire rifle used in the US by killer Adam Lanza during his murderous rampage at a Connecticut school last month.
In The Sun?s article, a Gun Control Network spokesman said: ?These weapons are too frightening to be available to the public.?
But in a letter to The Sun, Mike Wells, the general secretary of the Sportsman?s Association, which campaigns for fair and effective firearms legislation, stated: ?Self-loading semiautomatic centrefire rifles were prohibited in the UK in 1988 under the 1988 Firearms Act?, adding that ?.22 rimfire semiautomatic rifles are available in the UK for target and vermin control?.
He added: ?The Ruger SR-22 is not an assault rifle. The term ?assault weapon? was a spin-off of the US military?s definition of assault rifles.?
?The US Department of Defense has long defined assault rifles as fully automatic rifles used for military purposes. These were prohibited in the US in 1934 and in the UK in 1935, other than for military use.?
Several complaints from shooters are thought to have been made to the Press Complaints Commission about the article.
The commission?s Editor?s Code states that: The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information.