The proposal to raise firearms licensing fees to £94, which was set to be introduced this autumn, has been abandoned following discussion between the Home Office and BASC.
After a meeting held between the minister of state for policing and criminal justice, Damian Green MP, and staff from BASC, the Home Office last week confirmed that the rise from £50 to £94 scheduled for next month would not now go ahead. A further rise in licensing fees to £109 by the time of the next general election now also appears unlikely after the Home Office confirmed that a working party, to include representatives of the shooting community, will be established next year “to test the benefits of e-commerce and all other elements of the cost of a licence in order to determine what full-cost recovery figures might be.”
BASC chief executive Richard Ali commented: “We welcome the constructive approach that the Home Office and the Government have taken towards this complex issue. They have listened to the concerns of law-abiding gun owners and set out a realistic way forward. The real costs of police administration can now be examined, inefficiencies tackled and improvements made.
“BASC recognises that an increase in firearms licensing fees is due, but we believe any rise should be linked to better police efficiency and effectiveness in delivering the licensing service. Firearms licensing must do two things: protect public safety and ensure the continued lawful ownership and use of firearms. Shooting helps to protect crops and our food supply, and brings acknowledged benefits to conservation and biodiversity. BASC believes lawful gun owners should pay a fair price for a fair service, but we know that the standard of service varies dramatically across different police forces.”
The rest of this article appears in the 11th September issue of Shooting Times.