BASC, the largest Shooting organisation in the UK, joined FACE UK, the umbrella group for shooting organisations in Europe, to lobby UK MEPs on behalf of BASC members and all those who shoot in Britain. The reception was also attended by Tim Bonner of the Countryside Alliance and Graham Downing from the British Shooting Sports Council. On the following day Richard Ali, Chief Executive of BASC, and Tim Bonner, from the Countryside Alliance, held meetings with MEPs to discuss the European Commission’s proposals for changes to the Firearms Directive which could impact on British firearms law.
FACE UK hosted a reception in the European Parliament in Brussels attended by British MEP’s and their staff from all parties. The event was sponsored by Anthea McIntyre MEP (Cons. West Midlands), Sion Simon MEP (Lab. West Midlands) and Stuart Agnew MEP (UKIP, Eastern).
The reception was held as BASC and other shooting organisations warned of the unintended consequences that could flow from European Commission proposals to amend the Firearms Directive. These include:
· A possible ban on small calibre semi-automatic rifles used in British pest control
· A ban on access by under 18-year-olds to firearms which will damage training in safe and responsible use
· Changes to medical tests which could stop UK progress towards a ten-year certificate with reduced burdens for police and shooters
· Controls on blank firers which could impact on training for working gun dogs
· Changes to the rules on advertising and sales which could damage the legally controlled sale and purchase of firearms in the UK
· New rules on deactivation which could force museums to butcher world famous collections of firearms
Richard Ali, the Chairman of FACE UK and a Vice President of FACE, said: “I welcome the support of British MEPs to ensure that the unintended consequences of the Commission proposals do not damage a sport that contributes £2 billion to the British economy and plays a major role in conservation across two-thirds of the rural land area.
“BASC and FACE UK support sensible laws to combat terrorism and armed crime, but we should beware the damage that can be done by good intentions but poorly developed legislation. I am grateful for the commitments I have received from British MEPs that they will work to ensure that British shooting is not damaged by unintended consequences.”