BASC has criticised plans to hike fees for firearms licences which are issued by the Home Office and Scottish government.

An eight-week public consultation is seeking views on the implementation of new fees for prohibited weapons, museum collections and approved shooting clubs.

The Home Office consultation, which opened today and closes on March 9 2017, does not deal with fees for firearm and shotgun certificates issued by police forces.

Bill Harriman, BASC’s director of firearms, said the association would issue a robust response to the consultation.

He said: “We do not approve of a massive hike in fees that would jump, in some instances, from nothing to the highest increase of £2,420. There doesn’t appear to be a proportionate, properly graduated fees tariff.

“On first reading, some of the proposals do not appear to conform to Treasury guidelines and the principles of better regulation. I am not persuaded by the impact assessment attached to the consultation document and the response form is very simplistic.

“We will now fully examine the information in the document very carefully and will make a measured response on the basis that BASC represents people who are traders, some who are Section 5 dealers as well as shooting clubs.”

Mr Harriman called a new proposal to implement a £470 for competitive pistol shooters a “tax on our national prestige”.

BASC chairman Peter Glenser, a barrister specialising in firearms law, said: “We are surprised and disappointed by the proposals put forward in the consultation. BASC will vigorously oppose any hike in fees.”

Mike Eveleigh, a senior BASC firearms officer and treasurer of a Home Office-approved shooting club, said: “The system as it stands is bureaucratic, over complicated and badly administered.

“We have made suggestions to police and the Home Office for clear improvements, but they have not done anything about it as far as we can tell. Much of the system doesn’t work and it needs a root and branch review. We have been promised a modern, efficient on-line system for years, but it simply hasn’t happened.”

The Home Office consultation document is available here.

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