Opinion Former Article

Countryside Alliance welcomes Government’s response to Firearms Report

Shooting Campaign Manager: “We support Government’s determination not to make knee-jerk reactions on firearms”

The Countryside Alliance broadly welcomes the proposals made today by the Government in its response to the Home Affairs Select Committee’s report into the firearms licensing system, but urges the Government to engage fully with the shooting community in taking its proposals forward.

David Taylor, the Countryside Alliance’s Shooting Campaign Manager commented: “The Government’s long awaited response to the report is to be welcomed, not least because this is an evidence based response rather than a knee jerk reaction.” The Home Affairs Select Committee Inquiry was set up to look at the firearms licensing system following the tragic shootings in Cumbria last summer. The Countryside Alliance submitted written and oral evidence to the Committee’s Inquiry. We welcome the Government’s comments that:

Gun crime is a social issue, and measures are being taken to address this separately though crime initiatives, dealing with the media and also by updating Home Office guidance. 

The Government is not opposed to young people participating in sports shooting.

The Government does not propose changing the minimum ages at which young people can possess guns. 

The current differentiation between controls on shotguns and firearms will be maintained

We are concerned that:

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the British Medical Association (BMA) will be drawing up guidance regarding GP involvement in firearms licensing without the explicit involvement of the shooting associations. Shooters are key stakeholders in this process and must be fully engaged in the development of any protocols for the guidance of GPs.

The Government may look at the proposal that current and ex partners should be included in the application process. This is potentially a highly emotionally charged process and would herald a field day for every vindictive ex-partner to do their worst. We continue to resist this proposal. 

The proposal to increase fees is not currently linked to a review of procedures to ensure that the administration of the firearms acts is both efficient and cost effective. Fee levels must be equitable and must not discourage people from entering the sport of shooting, especially in the Olympic year. 

David Taylor continued: “Overall, we are pleased that the Government has taken a sensible approach, and has clearly listened to the evidence. Too often there is a rush to legislate which penalises law abiding shooters while doing nothing to address the real problem of gun crime.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Read the full report at

http://www.countryside-alliance.org.uk/ca/campaigns-shooting/countryside-alliance-welcomes-governments-response-to-firearms-report For more information or to arrange interviews please call the Countryside Alliance press office on 0207 840 9220 or 07775 938792 

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