BASC, the UK’s largest shooting organisation, will be submitting amendments to the European Commission’s proposals to change the Firearms Directive. The rapporteur for the European parliament committee considering the proposals, Vicky Ford MEP, asked for amendments at a stakeholder meeting at Europe House attended by Stephen Curtis, BASC’s Director of Firearms, and Matt Perring, BASC’s senior firearms officer.
Following the recent terrorist outrages in Paris, significant changes across a range of proposed controls are being recommended by the Commission but, in BASC’s view, many could have serious unintended consequences for legitimate firearms owners without improving public safety.
BASC, which has already made detailed written representations across a range of priority issues, pressed for changes to the Commission’s proposals and took the opportunity to discuss these with Vicky Ford MEP. BASC specifically raised the issue of standard medical tests and the intention to limit the duration of certificates to five years despite a move in the UK towards considering ten-year certification. BASC also opposed the proposed restrictions on the use of firearms by those under 18, which could damage training in responsible and safe use.
Vicky Ford MEP asked for amendments to be submitted which can be placed before the European Parliament for consideration for adoption in place of the current Commission proposals. BASC will submit amendments in the next few days.
Matt Perring said: “There are significantly complex issues being discussed, but I am confident that we can get our views and the views of our members understood and help shape the debate. It was clear that Vicky Ford MEP is consulting widely across Europe, and is seeking to support the legitimate interests of shooters in the UK where these are based on evidence.”
Stephen Curtis, who later in the afternoon attended a Home Office meeting with other shooting organisations specifically convened to discuss UK medical issues, said: “It is clear that there is still opportunity to press for changes to the Commission’s proposals. Together with other shooting organisations, we will continue to make our case across a range of issues.”
The next exchange of views on the document will be towards the end of February and a formal hearing in the European Parliament is likely in mid-March. Adoption of any changes will happen in the summer.