BASC has applauded an announcement by the chief executive of one of Scotland’s iconic rail services that it welcomes licensed firearms on its trains.
In response to ScotRail’s decision to ban all firearms on its trains, Rupert Soames used social media to say that guns can be taken on The Caledonian Sleeper, the overnight train service running between Scotland and London.
His tweet said: “Worried about ScotRail firearms ban? Relax @CalSleeper welcomes responsible customers with licensed firearms.”
BASC chairman Peter Glenser said: “The operators of The Caledonian Sleeper clearly recognise the benefits to their brand and Scotland of welcoming responsible, safety-conscious shooters on their trains.
“This service takes passengers direct into the heart of rural Scotland and into the areas that rely on fieldsports tourism. It is estimated that £155 million per year is injected into Scotland’s economy by country sports tourism.
“With the ‘Glorious Twelfth’ just a couple of weeks away and the start of the lowland game season not far behind, it is fantastic news that The Caledonian Sleeper is happy to help maintain the tradition of shooters making their way to Scotland on the train.
“As the UK’s largest shooting organisation, we continue to work towards ScotRail reversing their decision and hope they will eventually adhere to the national guidelines which allow a certificate holder to lawfully transport an unloaded gun with the train company’s permission.”
BASC believes ScotRail’s stance will have a significant negative impact on the country’s status as an internationally renowned sporting destination.
BASC has written to Scotland’s Secretary for Tourism, Fiona Hyslop MSP, and the Secretary for Rural Affairs, Fergus Ewing MSP, to outline the association’s concerns.
The association has also written to ScotRail’s chief executive, Alex Hynes, to request that rather than impose a punitive outright ban, the operator adheres to the national guidelines.
Mr Glenser, a barrister specialising in firearms law, said: “Individuals travelling with firearms in the UK are regulated and authorised by the police following rigorous background checks. In fact the UK has some of the toughest gun laws in the world.
“Responsibilty for safe transportation of a firearm lies solely with a certificate holder and they take that responsibility seriously. The UK has a fine track record for firearm safety.”
The National Rail Conditions of Travel, which apply throughout the UK, allow for the carriage of ‘unloaded firearms, properly licenced, with prior permission of the train company and carried in accordance with the law and any other specific instructions’.
Section 19 of the 1968 Firearms Act allows certificate holders to possess firearms in public if they have a reasonable excuse – such as transporting them to and from shooting events.