FACE UK has set up a new website allowing shooters to share any concerns they have with MEPs ahead of the hearing on proposed amendments to European firearms law

FACE UK is calling on shooters to make their voices heard by contacting their MEPs to register their opinions on proposed changes to the European Firearms Directive.

Plans to tighten European gun laws were brought forward by the European Commission following two separate terrorist attacks in Paris last year. Fears are growing among the fieldsports organisations represented by FACE UK that new restrictions will harm legitimate shooting in the UK, without doing anything to tackle terrorism or the illegal trafficking of firearms.

Lobby EU ministers

The partnership has launched a new website to help interested parties lobby EU ministers, who are currently considering the European Commission’s proposals.

In a joint statement, they said: “Shooting and country sport organisations, which are part of FACE UK, fully support evidence-based actions that will reduce the flow of illegal firearms to organised criminals and terrorists. The organisations support the view that this is best achieved by ensuring that any new regulations separate lawful ownership and the use of sporting guns from illegal firearms used in terrorism and organised crime.

“FACE UK does, however, have a number of concerns with the proposed text, which is highly likely to result in damaging unintended consequences, and harm an activity which is integral to the well-being of the British countryside.”

Proposed changes include the restriction of licences to five years, the introduction of standard medical tests, a ban on semi-automatic firearms for civilians and restrictions for those under the age of 18.

Richard Ali, FACE UK chairman and BASC chief executive, said: “It is vital that MEPs fully understand the unintended consequences of the proposed amendments — of the threats to economic, social and environmental well-being. I call upon all those who shoot to make contact with their MEPs and to respectfully express their concerns.”

Representing fieldsports organisations

FACE is the European Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation, an umbrella body that represents fieldsports organisations.

Its UK members include BASC, the Countryside Alliance, the National Gamekeepers’ Association, the Moorland Association, the British Shooting Sports Council, the Association of Master Harriers and Beagles, The Hawk Board, the Game Farmers’ Association, the Masters of Foxhounds Association, the British Falconers’ Club and the St Hubert Club of Great Britain.

Recently, representatives from BASC and the Countryside Alliance, met with MEP Vicky Ford to push for a review of the proposed changes. While a formal hearing in the European Parliament to discuss the issue is not likely to take place until next month, the representatives reported that Ms Ford appeared receptive to the concerns of shooters.

To contact your MEP, visit the FACE UK website