By Will Finch
Monday, 22 October 2012
WHSmith faces backlash from shooters after banning the sale of shooting sports magazines to under-14s.
WHSmith, the UK’s leading magazine retailer, is enforcing an age restriction of 14 years on the sale of shooting titles, including Shooting Gazette, Sporting Gun and Shooting Times, in all its shops.
Children under the age of 14 are affected by the decision, though some readers say they have had to prove they are over 18 before making a purchase.
Complaints from shooting enthusiasts have flooded in since the restrictions were introduced, with many pointing out the absurdity of a ban on the sale of shooting magazines to youngsters, when there is no lower age limit for those wishing to hold a shotgun certificate.
Among shooters to have had their purchase of shooting magazines challenged is Shaun Cotgrove from Taunton in Somerset.
He said: “I was amazed when I couldn’t buy my usual Shooting Times without having the purchase authorised and the assistant checking I was over 18. When I queried this, I was informed it was because it contained pictures of guns!”
Writing on Shooting Times’ Facebook page, a number of readers expressed their shock at WHSmith’s decision and said they would refuse to buy any magazines there until the policy was changed.
BASC’s director of communications, Christopher Graffius, said: “It is extraordinary that in WHSmith you can buy a car magazine at any age despite the age limit of 17 for driving.”
“You can also buy numerous military magazines which depict the killing of people, yet WHSmith is concerned about children buying shooting magazines — a legal and Olympic sport.”
“It is ironic that at the three parties’ recent conferences, front-bench spokesmen and Government ministers from all major parties sang the praises of shooting sports for the sense of responsibility and discipline that they encourage in the children who take them up. Yet WHSmith is trying to keep the magazines that encourage that approach out of children’s hands.”
Though WHSmith says it has no plans to place restrictions on where shooting magazines are positioned in its stores, it appears to be working under the mistaken assumption that 14 is the lower age limit for taking part in shooting sports.
The retailer says that, though its position on shooting titles has not changed in recent weeks, members of staff have been reminded of the age restrictions as part of a “refresher course on till procedures.”
Follow the link to let WHSmiths know what you think - WHSmiths: Retract Policy on Sale of Shooting Magazines!
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