Shooters have only until 27 August to make submissions to the Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry into firearms control.

The committee, which was set up in response to the recent Cumbria and Northumberland killings, will examine whether there is a need for change in the way firearms and shotgun certificates are issued and reviewed.

The committee chair, Keith Vaz MP, said: ?The committee will seek to determine whether there are lessons to be learned from recent events, including the role of doctors and criminal justice agencies in liaising with police to assess the risk posed by individuals. We also want to be certain that our gun laws are clear, transparent and enforceable.?

On the same day that the select committee inquiry was announced, Keith Vaz MP tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) urging the Government to review the granting of shotgun licences to under-18 year olds, drawing criticism from shooting groups.

Countryside Alliance (CA) spokesman, Tim Bonner, said: ?On the very same day that the inquiry was announced, the committee chairman tabled a shockingly ill-informed EDM picking on young people who lawfully hold shotgun certificates.?

The Select Committee inquiry will focus on the extent to which legally-held guns are used in criminal activity.

It will examine whether recommendations made in the wake of the Dunblane murders were implemented.

It will also look at information sharing between medics and the police in respect of gun licensing as well as legislation regulating airguns.

Despite calls from the Prime Minister there should be no ?knee-jerk? reaction, the inquiry was launched before the outcome of the police inquiries into the Cumbria murders, which will not be published until the autumn.

Tim Bonner said: ?The CA is concerned the committee has announced a new inquiry into firearms control without waiting for the results of the post-Cumbria police investigation into licensing.?

BASC spokesman, Christopher Graffius, said: ?We were expecting an inquiry into the Cumbria murders, but the Home Affairs Select Committee is proposing to look much more widely in to firearms licensing. It is easy to see how those pushing a gun control agenda will seek to use the opportunity to stake their claim for tighter restrictions on gun ownership and use.?

?Moreover, the committee will revisit old recommendations such as requiring good reason to be given for shotgun ownership and the role of doctors in the licensing process. It is vital that all of us who are involved in shooting make a representation to the committee.?

For guidance on how to make a submission to the committee, visit www.basc.org.uk

  • David Hawk

    I would suggest to the select committee that the starting point of their enquiry should be the premise that the entire body of British firearms legislation since the 1920 Act be torn up and thrown in the trash where it deserves to be. Next, they should look at introducing a workable and cost effective system of licencing like that which New Zealand has. The NZ system is widely regarded as being the best in the world. Thought should also be given to removing the licencing of firearms from the police who have other more important matters to deal with. It need hardly be pointed out that the job of the police is to deal with criminals which the overwhelming majority of licenced, law abiding sporting shooters manifestly are not.
    I won’t hold my breath waiting for any of this to happen and expect the outcome to be only too depressingly more stupidity and ineffective legislation designted to hurt the legitimate interests of lawful shooters and cause no inconvenience to criminals.