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Consultation launched by government on shotgun licensing

The consultation was launched on 29th June

man with shotgun

The shooting community breathed a massive sigh of relief yesterday, as the long-awaited announcement on proposed changes to shotgun licensing laws was released with an eight-week consultation period for the public. (Read our breaking news announcement on the shotgun consultation here.)

The proposals were notable for the absence of any mention of adopting the same rules for shotguns as currently applied to other firearms, meaning that shotguns would continue to enjoy exemption from some of the more onerous legislation applied to rifles. This suggestion had been a key feature of some recommendations and was broadly expected to appear in the proposals.

The consultation instead contains many suggestions that the community would welcome, such as making it mandatory for your GP to be involved in the process of licence application, and the possibility of changing the length of the licence granted.

The government also announced the allocation of £500,000 to fund mandatory police firearms licensing personnel training.

BASC director of firearms Bill Harriman said: “This is the most significant and important firearms licensing consultation in 35 years. It is essential that the shooting community responds and feeds in its views.”
“People must not be silent and think others will do the work for them,” he added. “The shooting community must respond in numbers. Make sure you have your say.”

Simon West of the Gun Trade Association said: “This is great news – I’m delighted the Government has applied logic and reason to the issues surrounding the tragic events in Plymouth and Skye. The main issue was police training and conduct, not a gap in the law. The grant of £500,000 to the College of Policing will be of great benefit. The suggestion that shotgun ownership would be aligned to that of firearms was never justified and, as the GTA made clear, would have a disproportionate effect on the Trade.“

Graham Downing, Secretary of the British Shooting Sports Council commented: “The Coroner’s report demonstrated that it was a catastrophic failure in policing, not inadequate legislation, which led to the Plymouth tragedy. The Government’s priority now must be to ensure a well-trained and properly resourced firearms licensing service that ensures public safety whilst being responsive to the needs of responsible gun owners. Our priority as shooters is to study this consultation in detail and to make sure our voice is well and truly heard.”

Have your say on the proposals here.