The Home Affairs Select Committee tasked with reviewing firearms controls will, according to BASC, be a ?rallying point for anti-gun campaigners?, making individual submissions from keen shooters of evidence to the committee of vital importance.
Shooters have just days to prepare their own submissions to the committee ? which is chaired by Labour?s Keith Vaz MP, who is well known for his anti-shooting views.
The deadline for submissions is 27 August and both BASC and the Countryside Alliance are urging supporters to prepare a response.
Christopher Graffius, BASC?s director of communications, said: ?This inquiry will be targeted by those who oppose legitimate gun ownership and wish to see further restrictions. It is important that shooting provides a solid body of evidence and opinion to the committee. Individual voices must be heard as well as those of the shooting organisations.?
In the aftermath of the Cumbria killings in June, anti-gun campaigners have already made calls for extreme restrictions on firearms ownership.
Gill Marshall-Andrews, who runs the Gun Control Network, recently said: ?First, we need to assert the public?s right to information about gun ownership. Just as ?Jennifer?s List? enables parents to find out where paedophiles live, so doctors, social workers, care workers, paramedics and others with a legitimate interest should be able to find out who the gun owners are. Parents also should be able to find out if there are guns in a neighbour?s house before allowing their children to play there. In many cases where children are shot accidentally, their parents had no idea that there was a gun in the playmate?s house.?
She added: ?Second, if private citizens are going to be allowed to keep firearms at home, annual checks should be conducted with their doctor, their spouse and the police in relation to alcohol or drug abuse, depression, domestic violence and criminal activity. We need to join up the dots – odd behaviour, mental health problems, domestic violence, gun ownership – and maybe, just maybe, we could prevent such terrible events.?
Robert Gray, campaigns director at the Countryside Alliance, echoed Christopher Graffius?s view that shooters should take personal responsibility for submitting evidence to the committee.
He said: ?Shooting is worth £1.6billion to the UK economy, supporting the equivalent of 70,000 jobs, and shooters spend £250million a year on habitat and wildlife management. Those who play a part in this are not the criminals. Now is not time for over-reaction, but for proceeding on the facts ? and everyone who shoots should help to provide those facts.?