BASC is advising members that Defra has officially confirmed that shooting can resume in England.
Defra minister Victoria Prentis MP answered a parliamentary question from Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP, chair of the APPG for shooting and conservation, by saying that shooting was included when the government spoke of people leaving their homes for open-air recreation during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Her intervention follows a statement by sports minister Nigel Huddleston MP “that All outdoor sports and physical activities are now permitted, without time limit, including outdoor shooting” and an announcement last week that Deputy Chief Constable Dave Orford, the national police lead for firearms licensing, would be writing to all constabularies in England to advise that shooting was once again allowed.
Christopher Graffius, BASC’s executive director of communications, said: “It should be reassuring for members that Defra, DCMS and the senior police officer for firearms licensing have confirmed that shooting can now take place in England.
“BASC was aware that, even last week, some police forces were still choosing to say that shooting could not take place. But now we have absolute clarity and there should be no room for misinterpretation of either the government’s advice or the guidance from the senior police officer responsible for firearms.
“BASC provides the secretariat for the (APPG) All Party Parliamentary Group and we thank Sir Geoffrey for taking up this issue with government on shooting’s behalf. We are also grateful that DCC Orford has listened to our concerns and addressed the inconsistencies in the advice being given by different forces.
“The message is clear that shooting is now open for business in England. But we continue to remind those out shooting, in whatever form it takes, that they should continue to follow the government’s wider guidance on social distancing to ensure they play their part in helping the country to beat this virus.”
In response to the question from Sir Geoffrey, Victoria Prentis said: “The Government has said people can now leave their homes for the purposes of open-air recreation in public open spaces to promote their physical or mental health or emotional wellbeing. What counts as “open-air recreation” is not defined in the regulations but would include shooting.”
The Government has published guidance on the phased return of outdoor sport and recreation. Outdoor sporting facilities are permitted to reopen if those responsible for them are ready to do so and they can do so safely, following public health guidance. This can be found on the GOV.UK website.