Judge rules BASC is vital for shooting.
The organisation was appealing against a ruling that imposed VAT on part of its income, which had previously been tax exempt.
To qualifiy for the exemption BASC had to prove that it was essential to the sport it represents.
Previously, it had been argued that to be essential BASC had to provide the guns, birds, land and other necessities for shooting, but this was overturned.
Judge Bishopp, sitting in Manchester, said of BASC: “In my judgement, it is an inescapable conclusion that, without its campaigning, advisory, educational and land management activities, sporting shooting in the United Kingdom, in all its forms, would be of materially poorer quality, and in some forms might not exist at all.”
The legal victory could have far-reaching implications for many other associations in the UK if they can prove they are equally “essential” to the sports they represent.
Judge Bishopp also drew attention to the evidence comparing the quality of shooting in the UK with that in Europe, where “policies of, at one extreme, tight regulation and, at the other, laissez faire have led to a diminished quality of sport.”
He agreed that the defence of shooting is of benefit to the community at large, commenting: “In particular [BASC] endeavours to persuade legislators away from imposing what it sees as unwarranted restrictions on shooting and the possession of firearms by demonstrating that shooting does not represent a danger to the public but has benefits, such as the control of vermin and the production of food.”