BASC will continue working to protect legitimate shooting when the European Commission’s Firearms Directive is officially passed to the UK to be incorporated into national law.

European Parliament MEPs approved the proposed legislation by 491 votes to 178 at a plenary hearing yesterday after Vicky Ford MEP steered through crucial amendments to an original draft which included many technical errors and would have placed disproportionate restrictions of lawful firearms owners.

The European Parliament has spent 18 months scrutinising the issue and, as part of that process, Mrs Ford met BASC, The British Shooting Sports Council and other shooting organisations from the UK and across the EU, including the European Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation (FACE).

The proposed legislation now passes to the EU Council of Ministers for formal approval, after which Member States will have 15 months to incorporate the new rules into national law. BASC does not believe Brexit will have a significant impact on that process but will be working to ensure UK ministers are adequately briefed.

BASC and other shooting organisations have worked tirelessly to ensure amendments to the Directive, suggested in the aftermath of terrorist atrocities, did not have unintended consequences for those who shoot legitimately.

As a result of those efforts – and the firm stance taken by the UK government and Mrs Ford – the lawful interests of the British shooting community are protected by the proposed amendments.

The following have been preserved for the UK:

  • Rimfire semi-automatic rifles.
  • Under 18’s having a certificate and their own gun to shoot.
  • Home loading of ammunition.
  • Collectors to be recognised and historical firearms preserved.
  • Imitation firearms used for dog training remain unlicensed.

Furthermore, the ability for the UK to extend the life of firearms and shotgun certificates and to choose its medical screening procedures have been secured rather than imposed upon us. The gun trade will be pleased to hear that no specific requirement has been made for a dealer’s register of transactions to be electronically stored by them.

Matt Perring, a BASC senior firearms officer, said: “The original Commission proposals were destined to damage many areas of shooting sports, but common sense has won through thanks to the work of Vicky Ford and MEPs who listened to the expert opinions of BASC and others who have an interest in lawful shooting.

“Now we must work hard to ensure the transportation of this proposed legislation into UK law is not a threat to legitimate shooting sports. Government has been supportive so far and BASC will work with ministers and government departments to represent the interests of those who shoot in the UK.”

BASC chairman Peter Glenser, a barrister specialising in firearms law, said: “BASC has been a leading player in rallying together the wider shooting community so that the right people were briefed and the right decisions made. BASC will continue to be vigilant to ensure that legitimate shooting is protected.”

Garry Doolan

Garry Doolan is BASC’s deputy director of communications and public affairs. He has more than 20 years experience of journalism and the media. He joined the organisation in 2016 and is a keen shooter and beater, with his springer spaniel Quincy.

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