A new condition for firearms certificates, which would allow shooters with larger calibre rifles to take smaller pest species, has been approved by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Firearms and Explosives Licensing Working Group (FELWG).
The following condition can now be applied where firearms licensing managers think it is practical to do so:
“The (rifle/ sound moderator/ firearms / ammunition) shall be used for shooting (Named Principal Quarry Species) and any other lawful quarry, and for zeroing on ranges, on land deemed suitable by the chief officer of police for the area where the land is situated* and over which the holder has lawful authority to shoot.”
*This wording may be removed to produce the less restrictive (open) condition.
This means rifle users will now be able to have their firearm certificate conditions amended so they can take lesser species including foxes, ground game and other pest species.
In the past some Chief Officers have prohibited the taking of smaller pest species with larger calibre rifles. Certificate holders need to deal with reasonable eventualities when managing estates and wildlife and now with the help of ACPO FELWG, this new policy should make wildlife management easier without compromise to public safety or animal welfare.
This practice has been applied in Scotland for some time now without problem. The ACPO Firearms and Explosives Licensing Working Group now recommends this approach to all forces as policy in England & Wales, however it must be remembered that it is still for individual chief constables to make their own decisions. BASC hopes that reasonable applications for this condition will not be refused.
Anyone who requires their certificate condition to be amended is invited to submit their certificates to their respective force Firearms Licensing Departments.