The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) has welcomed the Home Office’s decision that firearms dealers in the UK will not have to establish and maintain electronic registers under a new EU directive.
Initially, the Home Office had put forward a proposal to give firearms dealers responsibility for complying with EU weapons directive 2008/51 by establishing and maintaining electronic records of all transactions starting from 31 December 2014.
However, following representations from BASC, which focused on ensuring businesses are not disadvantaged, the Home Office has now announced that it has revisited its position on the implementation of the directive.
An update on the Home Office website says: “The Home Office has revisited its position on the implementation of article 4(4) of the EU Weapons Directive 2008/51 (amending Council Directive 91/477). We do appreciate that it is not ideal to be changing our approach at this late stage. However we have reconsidered the scope of the requirements and have decided that rather than mandating firearms dealers to computerise their records we will rely on the National Firearms Licensing Management System (England and Wales) and SHOGUN (Scotland), with both the police and firearms dealers continuing to record current information.”
This now means that firearms dealers can continue to keep paper-based records and will not be required to undertake any computerisation.
The only difference for firearms dealers will be the length of time they must hold their records for, which will now be 20 years.
There is no requirement for registered firearms dealers trading only in air weapons or ammunition to comply with this EU Directive.
Richard Ali, BASC chief executive, said: “We are glad to see that the Home Office has listened to the views of BASC and the views of our members. This decision is both pragmatic and correct. It avoids any gold-plating of the legislation.”
BASC continues to engage with the Department of Justice in Northern Ireland in relation to the implementation of the directive in NI with regard to the need to record component parts and accessories.
For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/firearms-licensing-police-guidance or https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/390521/2014_12_23_-_Advisory_Note_-_final.pdf or https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-registered-firearms-dealers-and-computerised-records