Legitimate shooting sports have been placed in the same category as brothels and prostitution in a controversial consultation on the broadcast ban on clay shooting grounds, gun shops and gun dealers from advertising on television and radio.

The Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP), which is administered by the Advertising Standards Authority, launched the consultation on 26 March to review its codes of advertising standards, most notably relating to ?guns, gun clubs and offensive weapons?.

The ban on the advertising of guns and sporting shooting stems from a clause in the 2003 Communications Act, which states: Material likely to encourage or to incite the commission of crime or lead to disorder is not included in television and radio services.

Shooting organisations are now urging a widespread response to the consultation and demand that guns are re-categorised to ensure they are not restricted in the same way as prostitution and obscene and restricted material.

The British Shooting Sports Council?s (BSSC) David Penn said this consultation presents shooters with an ideal opportunity to convince the regulator to overturn the ban on advertising on radio and television.

?This is the first time in 8 years the BCAP has conducted a full consultation into broadcast advertising. The consultation not only represents shooting in a pejorative manner, but incorporates inaccurate statements on the legislative position that are likely to mislead non-shooting respondents. We have been traduced. The BSSC has prepared a robust response and has asked its 12 member associations to encourage their affiliated clubs and individual members to respond as well. We have an opportunity to get rid of this insulting restriction and can succeed if enough shooters make their views clear to the BCAP.?

The Countryside Alliance?s Robert Gray urged all shooters to participate in the consultation.

?It is outrageous that Shooting UK readers are dumped in the same category as prostitutes in the eyes of the regulators. The Countryside Alliance is campaigning to lift the absurd regulations that insult the law abiding shooting community. Getting everyone to respond to this consultation is a good start.?

BASC?s David Ilsley pointed out the gun trade and associated activities are all legal and should therefore be able to utilise broadcasting media to advertise.

?Shooting generates more than £2billion for the UK economy. Do the powers that be really want to restrict the income from shooting to the UK coffers – especially in the current climate? BASC will do all it can to fight this ridiculous and poorly thought through legislation,? he said.

Responding to the shooting industry?s concerns, a spokesman for the BCAP refused to make any comment.

?We are not making any comment on any public debates during this public consultation process. The BCAP consultation will close on 19 June and we welcome any responses to it.?

To respond to the consultation, visit http://www.asa.org.uk/cap/Consultations/open/BCAP_Code_Review_consultation/BCAP+Code+Review+Consultation.htm

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