Britains Olympic pistol shooters are one step closer to being granted permission to train in the UK. On 8 July, Tessa Jowell, the secretary of state for culture, media and sport, was asked in Parliament under what circumstances people can practise in the UK for international pistol tournaments.
Ms Jowell responded that she has agreed to use her powers under section 5 of the 1968 Firearms Act to allow a small squad of elite GB Olympic pistol shooters to train in this country ahead of the Olympics in 2012. Scottish Ministers have agreed, in principle, to exercise their powers in a similar manner in relation to Scotland. In Northern Ireland, pistol shooters are free to practise their sport, provided that they have the appropriate firearms certificate from the chief constable of the police service of Northern Ireland.
The home secretary will also use her powers under section 5 to ensure arrangements are in place to allow competitors and officials at the Olympic Games in London in 2012 to possess their special competition pistols for the duration of the games and for any special warm-up events.
David Penn, of the British Shooting Sports Council, welcomed the move: We have some outstanding young air pistol Shots ready to make the transition to .22 cartridge pistols and I look forward to seeing at least one of them on the podium in 2012. Britain was one of the leading nations in the development of the sport of target pistol shooting in the late 19th century and it is high time we regained our place as world leaders.
The rest of this article appears in 17 July issue of Shooting Times.
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