MARK SPENCER MP told hundreds of guests at a rural reception at the Conservative conference in Birmingham that shooting should ‘bang the drum with pride’ to ensure the Home Office fully understands its role in public safety.
His comments at the joint event organised by BASC and the Angling Trust come as the Home Office considers a number of legislative changes following lengthy public consultations.
Mr Spencer said: “Shooting should be proud of its contribution to the countryside and the environment. It is a positive story that deserves to be told.
“All those who shoot, and the organisations that represent them, should be out there leading the way to ensure people understand the contribution made by shooting. They should be rightly proud of shooting’s impact on rural society.
“People should also be extremely proud of shooting’s safety record and should be making sure the Home Office understands that very few problems are caused by legitimately-held firearms.
“Shooting has always taken safety seriously and has been very good at self-regulation.
“The shooting community should be keen to work with the Home Office and the police so that both fully understand that the level of crime among those with legally-held firearms is virtually nil. The shooting community needs to make sure it bangs the drum with pride so that people understand that.
“It must be accepted that there is a financial cost to regulation but we should not be pricing people out of enjoying the countryside.”
BASC chairman Peter Glenser QC, who specialises in firearms law, said: “Those who shoot are among the most law-abiding members of society. In the UK, the restrictions placed upon those who wish to hold firearm or shotgun certificates are among the most stringent in the world.
“There are well-documented benefits to the economy and environment provided by those who shoot and it is extremely pleasing to hear Mr Spencer highlight these to a packed rural reception at the Conservative conference.
“BASC and its full-time firearms team will continue to represent shooting’s best interests to the Home Office and the Police and will always work hard to ensure shooting’s voice is heard.”