BASC, the UK’s largest shooting organisation, has welcomed the introduction of the firearms provisions contained in the new Policing and Crime Bill placed before parliament today. The new provisions provide an opportunity to clarify areas of the law which would benefit those who shoot.
The Bill contains some provisions relating to the recent Law Commission recommendations on firearms law.
This legislation comes at an important time for shooting, when firearms law is in the spotlight. In Europe, the government is currently negotiating hard to represent the lawful interests of the British shooting community as the Commission makes proposals for the amendment of the European Firearms Directive. BASC has played a key role in briefing Ministers, civil servants and MEPs to ensure that unintended consequences do not damage shooting in the UK .
The Bill includes provisions for:
• The simplification of the legal definition of the word ‘firearm’, including setting a new threshold of a firearm’s kinetic energy at 1 joule.
• The definition of an antique firearm – which makes the current guidance statutory,
• A new offence, targeted at criminals, of the possession of articles with intent to convert an imitation into a working firearm.
• New powers to charge fees, introduced by secondary legislation for licences, relating to section 5 firearms, museums and clubs.
• A new legal requirement for the police to have regard to the Home Office guidance when carrying out their licensing function.
BASC will continue to represent the interests of its members and the wider shooting community in discussions with the Home Office.
Gary Ashton, Director of Firearms Operations at BASC said: “BASC is confident that the government supports British shooting and wishes to see it prosper, nevertheless it is important that any changes made during the passage of the Bill through parliament do not have adverse or unintended consequences. BASC will be active in ensuring that it is properly scrutinised and that the interests of shooting and our members are protected.”