BASC NI has called for new measures to cut bureaucracy for shooters wishing to visit Northern Ireland. At a recent meeting of the Northern Ireland firearms controls liaison committee BASC NI asked the Department of Justice (DoJ) to scrap the requirement for British visitors to obtain a certificate of approval from the police service of Northern Ireland before they travel.
BASC also called for the DoJ to consider reviewing the requirement for visitors from EU member states to send their original European firearms pass (EFP) with their visitor’s permit application. Legislation elsewhere in the UK changed on 1st October and now allows those applying for visitor’s permits to submit a copy or scan of their European firearms pass rather than the original document.
BASC Northern Ireland director Tommy Mayne said “Shooting brings much needed tourism revenue to Northern Ireland and we should make the process of applying to shoot here as simple as possible. BASC feels that the certificate of approval is an unnecessary requirement for British visitors. A valid shotgun or firearm certificate should be sufficient evidence to allow entry to and possession of sporting firearms in Northern Ireland. We feel that this is a level of bureaucracy that should be removed and which could potentially see an increase in the number of people travelling to Northern Ireland to take part in shooting sports." The PSNI head of Firearms and Explosives Branch confirmed that there were ongoing discussions with the DoJ to remove the requirement for certificates of approval for most firearm types except airguns where the legislation between GB and NI do not currently align.
In relation to the European firearms pass Tommy Mayne said, “An EFP is a single document which allows firearms owners in EU member states to travel around the EU. The current requirement that the original document be submitted, rather than a scan or copy, means that applicants could potentially be without their EFP for some time while their application is being processed. Removing this requirement will make it easier for visitors from Europe to come to Northern Ireland." ENDS
For more information call BASC NI on 028 9260 5050 or the press office on 01244 573031