British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) has welcomed many of the recommendations on the UK’s firearms laws made today by the Home Affairs Select Committee.
Bill Harriman, BASC director of firearms said: “The committee’s report contains several recommendations which we think will help to secure the dual purposes of the UK’s firearms laws: to protect public safety and to allow the continued lawful use of firearms. BASC thanks the more than 900 people and organisations from the shooting world who submitted evidence to the enquiry. The volume of responses indicates the seriousness with which the shooting community views these deliberations.”
In particular BASC welcomes the rejection of tagging every firearms certificate holder’s medical records, the dismissal of proposals to require guns and ammunition to be kept outside the home and the rejection of a reduction in the license term from five years to two. BASC welcomes the proposal to update police guidance on the licensing system and to smooth out the peaks and troughs in the flow of grant and renewal applications. BASC also welcomes the rejection of licensing for low-powered airguns and the emphasis on enforcement of existing law to deal with any problems.
However, this is not the end of the road in terms of the political battle to secure effective law which serves both public safety and firearms users. The report highlights several areas for future debate. BASC does not agree with recommendations to impose minimum age limits on certificate applicants, in the knowledge that the current laws and police powers are robust and allow people to be introduced to the sport with increasing degrees of responsibility until they can shoot unsupervised.
BASC firmly rejects the recommendation to apply the current complicated section one firearms licensing system onto shotguns and to increase licence fees to cover costs without firm and reliable evidence of what those costs actually are. BASC will continue to work with the Government and the police on the issues raised by the report.