Two key improvements to firearms law have today been moved by the Government as amendments to the Policing and Crime Bill, and passed by the House of Lords.

The Government has amended the Bill to address firearm certificate renewals and expanding ammunition. The changes mean that expanding ammunition of the kind used for deer stalking moves back to Section 1; and if a renewal has been submitted in a timely fashion and the police have failed to determine the renewal the certificate before the expiry date then the certificate will remain valid for a further period of eight weeks.

These amendments, which are supported by the police, are the result of the hard work of the Countryside Alliance working with the British Shooting Sports Council (BSSC) and the other member organisations, and with Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Shooting and Conservation.  However the amendments will not have legal effect until after Royal Assent.

Certificates pending renewal now valid for eight weeks after expiry

The first amendment would allow a person to possess firearms on a certificate for a period of up to eight weeks after the date of expiry, so long as the application for renewal was submitted eight weeks ahead of the date of expiry. This will go some way to assisting the police and firearms users with renewals and the problems caused by delays in renewal and the increasing reliance by the police on Section 7 Temporary Permits. The second amendment moves expanding ammunition of the kind used for deer stalking back to Section 1, removing the need for a specific and totally unnecessary police exemption to possess it. Both amendments represent a significant improvement for the police and the shooting.

Tim Bonner, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, said:

“We are pleased that the Government has taken steps to make the most of the opportunity the Countryside Alliance highlighted back in March. We are very grateful for the hard work and leadership of Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP, to the Minister, Brandon Lewis MP, and the British Shooting Sports Council in securing these significant improvements to the Firearms Act 1968.

“These amendments have the support of the Government, the shooting community and the police and will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our firearms laws. We also understand the Government are working on further improvement to firearms legislation, which we look forward to seeing in due course.”