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Have your say on firearms licensing

Typically and true to form, the EU mistakenly think that heaping more legislation will reduce attacks by militants, says Robin Scott

.22 centrefire

It’s heartening to hear that MEP Vicky Ford appears to be listening to BASC and the Countryside Alliance (CA) over proposed changes to the EU’s Firearms Directive. Ms Ford is heading up a study into the proposals.

Both organisations want EU politicians to steer clear of knee-jerk new gun controls that will make life even harder for UK shooters, who already adhere to some of the toughest restrictions not just in Europe, but worldwide.

Politicians want to tighten gun laws in the EU following the terrorist atrocities in Paris last year. Typically, and true to form, they mistakenly think that heaping more legislation on legitimate gun owners will reduce attacks by  militants, Islamic or otherwise, and combat the illegal trafficking of firearms at the same time. What nonsense!

Not too long ago David Cameron went on record saying the authorities here couldn’t be expected to protect the public from every random terrorist attack of the sort experienced in the French capital. Well of course they can’t. He was simply stating the obvious which, roughly translated, means hard luck if you end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, unable to defend yourself. Yet, more gun legislation? If we are to brace ourselves for more attacks across Europe and can’t rely on the state to gallop to our rescue every time, then isn’t there a case here for actually easing the rules on gun ownership and their licensing so that we can arm ourselves for self-protection?

Of course not. It will never happen, just as a ban on the unchecked sale of swords, machetes, carving knives and other lethal blades every day from high street stores will never happen.

And what are we to make of EU calls to introduce a standard medical test to check out everyone applying for, or renewing, a firearms licence? What earthly use is that going to be unless the shrinks have found a way of spotting signs that duck shooters or deer stalkers have been radicalised and likely to be buying a one-way ticket to Islamic State any day soon?

Fingers crossed MEP Vicky Ford isn’t the only one with a vote in Brussels now taking on board the wider “unintended consequences” of the EU proposals. If not, we’re going to end up in a bigger bureaucratic mess than we’re in now. And none the safer for it.

Kate Gatacre, Editor of Sporting Gun adds

“New statistics from Parliament show that there are more than 40,000 semi-automatic .22 rimfires held in England and Wales, as well as more than 12,000 section 1 shotguns (which would also fall under the ban). So if you hadn’t already realised, there is a very real chance that you could lose the right to your .22 semi-auto. Make sure you write to your MEP about this. The Countryside Alliance and BASC have set up a lobbying page together with FACE, and it’s well worth signing. To lobby your MP visit the FACE campaign page.