The UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), has held a meeting with Ofcom to discuss Royal Mail’s plans to ban the transportation of guns and their component parts.
BASC is challenging the proposals which were outlined in a consultation document launched by Royal Mail last month.
Ofcom is the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries and has the power to overrule Royal Mail’s final decision.
The aim of the meeting was to inform Ofcom of the impact Royal Mail’s plans could have on the gun trade and people who shoot and to discuss BASC’s response to the consultation and the issues involved. BASC’s firearms and explosives officer Matthew Perring told Ofcom representatives at the meeting that BASC had found claims in the consultation document to be flawed, legally incorrect and not evidence-led. He also told the meeting that guns and component parts have been carried in the post for years with no evidence of them falling into the wrong hands.
Matthew Perring said: “It was a successful meeting. Ofcom is looking to BASC to provide a detailed and informative response to help them with any decision they may need to make in the future.”
BASC held a meeting with Royal Mail last week to discuss the plans.
Royal Mail says it is consulting on changes to its terms and conditions that will ensure that they are consistent with relevant firearms legislation. Royal Mail is proposing that all firearms, including guns for sporting use, as well as their component parts, are prohibited under its terms and conditions.
If the proposals go ahead, consumers and traders will no longer be able to use Royal Mail postal services to send firearms or component parts. The proposals extend to component parts and accessories that are not regulated by firearms legislation.
Under the proposals, Parcelforce Worldwide, which is part of the Royal Mail Group, and other carriers would continue to carry firearms and component parts but only between Registered Firearms Dealers.
The consultation document states that Royal Mail is concerned as it is unable to guarantee the safe custody of firearms during carriage within the meaning of section 14 (1) of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988. It says that in order to provide safe custody it would be required to set up a dedicated handling system and conveyance pipeline. However, the legislation does not refer to a guarantee, it refers to “reasonable precautions” for the safe custody of firearms and ammunition.
The consultation document states that Royal Mail is unable to comply with a police notification requirement placed upon it by the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 should a firearm be lost in the post. Royal Mail maintains its current system is inadequately equipped to detect a loss. BASC disagrees as the duty requires a reported loss to be notified to police by Royal Mail “forthwith” which can only be at the earliest known opportunity. Royal Mail cannot be held responsible under the duty to notify of a lost item if it was not aware of a missing item in the first place. BASC maintains Royal Mail is compliant with current legislation.
BASC is calling on its members to respond to the public consultation by the closing date of 17th September. The consultation document can be found here