The UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), has held a meeting with Royal Mail to discuss its plans to ban the transportation of guns and their component parts.
BASC is fighting the proposals which were outlined in a consultation document launched last month.
The aim of the meeting was to inform Royal Mail of the impact the plans could have on the gun trade and people who shoot and to highlight BASC’s findings that claims in the consultation document were flawed, legally incorrect and not evidence-led. Royal Mail representatives at the meeting were also told 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, BASC’s firearms and explosives officer, said: “We hope Royal Mail now has a better understanding of firearms legislation and an understanding of shooting sports. They learned something from the meeting and were grateful for the information. Royal Mail has stated that it expects the impact of these proposals on customers to be minimal. I told the meeting there are more than one million people who shoot in the UK and that these proposals, if they go ahead, will have a significant impact on them. I explained that many people who shoot live in the countryside and rely on the post instead of travelling long distances to take guns for repair or to buy accessories. They were also told that there would be a knock-on effect on people’s businesses and livelihoods.”
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 and this was pointed out to representatives at the meeting.
BASC will also be attending a meeting with the independent regulator Ofcom which has the power to overrule Royal Mail’s final decision.
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.