Chief Executive Tim Bonner says the two amendments, which the organisation called for back in March, will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the UK's firearms laws

The Countryside Alliance (CA) has welcomed two amendments to the Firearms Act, describing them as “significant improvements”.

The changes to firearms licensing, which the CA called for in March, have now been tabled as Government amendments to the Policing and Crime Bill.

The CA has joined partnership organisations in welcoming the amendments, which will extend the life of a certificate if a renewal has been submitted and return expanding ammunition to Section 1 status.

Pleased about the proposed improvements

After the introduction of the Policing and Crime Bill in February, the CA said it was pleased about the proposed improvements to the Firearms Act, but highlighted the moment as a“golden opportunity” to bring further clarity to firearms law.

Subsequent hard work by David Penn, secretary of the British Shooting Sports Council (BSSC), BSSC member organisations, including the CA, and Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Shooting and Conservation, has resulted in the Government tabling two further amendments to the Firearms Act.

“Together these amendments will have a real and positive impact on the lives of our members”

The first amendment proposes an eight-week extension to the life of a firearms certificate as long as the renewal documents were submitted eight weeks ahead of the certificate’s expiry, to prevent owners from being penalised if their licensing department does not turn their renewal around in good time.

The second amendment moves expanding ammunition of the kind used for deerstalking back to Section 1, removing the need for a specific police exemption.

CA chief executive Tim Bonner said: “We are pleased that the Government has taken steps to make the most of the opportunity the CA highlighted back in March. We are grateful for the hard work and leadership of Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP, minister Brandon Lewis MP and the BSSC’s David Penn in securing these significant improvements to the Firearms Act.

“These amendments have the support of the Government, the shooting community and the police. They pose no threat to public safety but will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our firearms laws. We also understand the Government is working on a further improvement to firearms legislation , which we look forward to welcoming in due course. Together these amendments will have a real, positive impact on the lives of our members.”

A BSSC spokesman added: “The BSSC supports the Government amendments to the Policing and Crime Bill, regarding the return of expanding ammunition to Section 1 status and the extension of the validity of firearm andshotguncertificatesduringthe renewal process, if required.”

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