Britain’s gun laws are overly complicated and little understood, MPs were told by the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC). Giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee at Westminster, BASC director of firearms Bill Harriman said the state of firearms law in the UK is “Very complicated and it’s a mess.”

The Committee is conducting an enquiry into firearms law after the murders in Cumbria carried out by taxi driver Derrick Bird.

Bill Harriman said:  “I was pleased to be able to give evidence to MPs on behalf of BASC. It is important that they hear first hand some of the difficulties which our members encounter every day in the application of the UK’s firearms laws“.

“Firearms law must do two things; it must protect public safety and the peace, and it must allow the continued lawful use of firearms without undue restrictions. At the moment the core of the legislation; the oversight of applicants and checks by the police are tough, well understood and robust. However with more than 30 pieces of legislation in operation, the details around the edges are muddled, sometimes obscure and problems are exacerbated because different constabularies interpret the law in different ways.”

BASC, which represent 130,000 members, was supported in its call for greater clarity and simplicity by representatives of the British Shooting Sports Council and the National Rifle Association.


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