|Royal Mail is currently running a consultation entitled "Proposals to prohibit Firearms and component parts from postal services offered under Postal Schemes". You can take part in the consultation, which aims is to see banned all firearms and firearm components from being sent in the postal network. Despite similar proposals being dismissed by the postal regulator in 2005, the Royal Mail is citing the 1988 amendments to the Firearms Act to substantiate the plans, with which it claims it can no longer comply. As this would prevent all gun components from being sent in the post, it is clear that these proposals, if implemented, would have far-reaching financial implications for thousands of gun users across the United Kingdom. In addition, gun businesses and the Post Offices which they use would be disproportionally affected by such restrictions.
These proposals would remove yet another service from Post Offices, an ongoing concern of ours over many years. We are firm on this point: we should be enhancing services offered by the network, not removing them and further threatening their viability. In addition, removing this option would leave only more expensive options both for the gun trade and the shooter. With many businesses facing threats to their very existence in rural areas now is a time to bolster and support them, not pull the rug out from under them for no good reason.
Below is the consultation document that Royal Mail has produced. If you disagree with the proposals, you can take part in the response. In order to do so, write to email your response to the following address before 10am on the 17th September 2012:
1st Floor, Rathbone Place,
Applications must also be accompanied by the completed form below. You are free to tell the Royal Mail how you, as a shooter, are affected by this consultation and why you believe the proposals are neither fair nor reasonable. To help, the following selected wording may be of use.
The Royal Mail consultation document “Proposal to Prohibit Firearms and component parts from postal services offered under Postal Schemes” requests that stakeholders respond with their opinion on the fairness and reasonableness of the proposals. It is my opinion that the proposals are both unfair and unreasonable for the following reasons:
- The proposals are based on inaccurate interpretation of the law. The 1988 Firearms Act does not, as is implied by Royal Mail, require the carrier to “offer safe custody”. Rather, it makes it an offence to “fail to take reasonable precautions for the safe custody” of any firearm or ammunition, which Royal Mail ought to be able to provide without difficulty and have been doing so since the Act was passed.
- It appears from the proposed new wording found in Annex A that the prohibition will apply to ‘all component parts’ of firearms, not just controlled parts which are regulated by S32 of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997. There is no rationale or justification given for including such parts.
- We are aware that the postal service is widely used for the sending of component parts, accessories etc, and to my knowledge losses within the postal system have not been raised either by the Police, the Home Office, the gun trade or the shooting community as an issue of concern.
- Implementing such proposals would have considerable financial implications for thousands of users and collectors of guns across the United Kingdom. Furthermore, rural business and post offices would be disproportionately affected were such restrictions to be implemented.
- A similar consultation was carried out between 2004 and 2005 which the regulator, Postcomm, rejected for a number of reasons including that “Prohibiting the carriage of (legal) firearms in the post would cause unnecessary hardship for many persons and businesses, especially those in rural areas”. There have been no changes in law since this consultation nor is there any evidence of any problems arising from the current situation.
For the reasons given above, I believe that the proposals given in the consultation are neither fair nor reasonable, and should therefore not be implemented.