Recommendations contained in the recently published Home Affairs Committee?s report on firearms control have been criticised by the Countryside Alliance, which said that they would penalise the law-abiding shooting community.

Among many proposals, the report said that the age at which an individual is permitted to shoot should be simplified and clarified, that a requirement for partners and recent ex-partners to sign licence application forms merits further exploration, and that the Home Office should consider raising the current licensing fee.

But Robert Gray, the Countryside Alliance?s campaigns director, said: ?Proposed restrictions on shotgun owners and young shooters, and the broad-brush involvement of GPs, domestic partners and increased licence fees would be hugely disproportionate. We will strongly resist any recommendations brought forward that penalise law-abiding shooters without improving public safety and preventing criminals from breaking the law.?

The committee set up its inquiry after the fatal shooting of 12 people in Cumbria last year by Derrick Bird.

Members were tasked with examining the extent to which legally held guns were used in criminal activity, and whether or not the current laws governing airguns and firearms licensing were fit for purpose.

BASC was more positive about the report.

Its director of firearms, Bill Harriman, said: ?We welcome the rejection of tagging every firearms certificate holder?s medical records, and the dismissal of proposals to require guns and ammunition to be kept outside the home. However, this is not the end of the battle to secure effective law that serves both public safety and firearms users.?

The report?s proposals include recommendations that:

– Rather than adding new rules and greater confusion, the Government provides proposals for early consultation on how to codify and simplify the laws that govern firearm control.

– There should be tighter restrictions on the granting of firearms and shotgun licences to individuals who have engaged in criminal activity.

– There is a change in the law to create a single system for the licensing of Section 1 firearms and shotguns, based upon the current process for granting licences for Section 1 firearms.

– Home visits undertaken for renewal applications should be compulsory.

– The Home Office should consider raising the £50 licensing fee.

– The life of a proportion of certificates should be extended to remove the peaks and troughs created when the renewal period was extended to five years.

– The Government brings forward proposals to simplify and clarify the age at which an individual is permitted to shoot. The committee believed there is no good reason to maintain the current differences in age restrictions between Section 1 firearms and shotguns.

– Deactivated guns are only sold through Registered Firearms Dealers.

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  • Mike Hemingway

    This has to be seen as a critical time for shooting in UK. If additional legislation is introduced for it’s own sake. or worse, at the instigation of the enemies of field sports, it will not be minimal, and I would hazzard a guess that it will be non negotiable and non reversable.
    Future generations will be unable to partake of the restricted freedoms we now take for granted. This is not merely a “wish list” for some Anti shooting fanatic, as was suggested by a correspondent before Christmas. This is crunch time, and unless the various shooting organizations, ie BASC and Alliance, start to pull together for a common aim, we are going to face an uncertain future. Sorry to start the New Year on a downer, but that is the way things are going to go unless we develop the art of countering anti- propaganda with relevant and convincing fact and forgoe the “Gentlemanly Silence” We will pay a high price if we lose this one.
    The one person who seems to have the matter sewn up is Mike Yardley. Please listen to him and act on his suggestions.