BASC is urging the public to help secure the future of shooting by lobbying candidates for the forthcoming elections to the European Parliament, and has set up an online facility to help do so.
BASC director of communications Christopher Graffius stressed the potential of this year?s European elections ? which will be held in May ? to affect the future of shooting in the UK. He explained that current proposals to review the European Firearms Directive, which has a direct bearing on the legislative position in the UK, are a particular cause for concern (News, 19 February).
Mr Graffi us said: ?Many of the pressures on shooting come from Europe. Participation in European elections is therefore as important as taking part in national elections. BASC works to ensure that all political parties support shooting sports. We do this in Europe by working through the Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation of the EU (FACE), the European federation of shooting organisations, and with individual MEPs to inform them of the benefits of shooting and conservation and to make sure shooting?s voice is heard in Europe.?
Speaking to Shooting Times Mr Graffius explained that: ?The key importance of Europe for British shooting lies in the Habitats, Birds and Firearms Directives, which determine the domestic laws that govern our sport.
?At present, the commission is proposing to review the Firearms Directive, which would seriously impact our ability to hold and use sporting firearms. At the same time, Europe is constantly seeking to involve itself in issues such as animal welfare and invasive species.
?Only strong representation in Europe can ensure that European politicians make the right decisions. That is why BASC is calling on all shooters to lobby British candidates in advance of the European elections.?
The new BASC webpage allows members of the public to find out who their candidates are and offers a straightforward way to contact them. The page indicates whether each candidate has already made known his or her views on shooting, and shooters can use the site to check what these views are. They can also use it to pass on concerns about changes in European law and to ask them to show their support for BASC?s campaign to secure ?sensible, safe and sustainable? legislation for the future. It provides a simple way to contact the potential MEPs and to offer them an opportunity to learn more about shooting.
Those using the facility to email candidates should also send a copy of any messages received in response to firstname.lastname@example.org so that it can keep its database of views up to date.
For more on the importance of lobbying prospective MEPs and participating in the European elections, visit www.basc.org.uk. To search for your candidates, visit bit.ly/BASCEurope. The elections are on 22 May and it is expected that results will be announced on 25 May. For details on how to register, visit www.aboutmyvote.co.uk.