The British Shooting Sports Council has helped to push through beneficial changes to firearms law that will “improve the lot of the shooting community considerably”

Shooting organisations have welcomed two improvements to firearms law passed last week by the House of Lords and adopted by the Government as amendments to the Policing and Crime Bill.

The first of these changes permits an eight-week extension to the life of a firearms certificate so long as renewal documents were submitted eight weeks ahead of its expiry date. This will help the police and firearms users with renewals and resolve problems caused by delays in renewal and the increasing reliance by the police on Section 7 temporary permits.

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

Firearms certificate amendments have police support

As reported last month, these amendments, which are supported by the police, were called for back in March and are the result of work by the British Shooting Sports Council, whose members include the Countryside Alliance (CA), BASC and the Gun Trade Association, with Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Shooting and Conservation.

BASC’s director of firearms Bill Harriman said: “BASC has been following this bill from its very genesis as a Law Commission recommendation last year. It is currently at the Lords committee  stage and is expected to reach the report stage by the end of the month.

“BASC is in constant touch with Home Office officials, making suggestions for minor amendments to the text. This is an important process as it reduces the chances that there will be any unintended consequences arising from ambiguous wording. Additionally, the Government has agreed to some very helpful amendments which will improve the lot of the shooting community considerably. BASC stands by to assist in drafting the regulations that will support the bill in due course,” he continued.

Comment from Countryside Alliance

Commenting on the changes when they were tabled last month, CA chief executive Tim Bonner said: “We are pleased that the Government has taken steps to make the most of the opportunity 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 1968 Firearms Act.

“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 is working on further improvement to firearms legislation, which we look forward to seeing in due course.”