Elections for devolved parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have produced new governments which will bring new challenges and opportunities for shooting sports. The UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) ran an internet-based lobbying campaign which asked each candidate for their views on shooting sports.
Scotland saw the most dramatic change, with a majority SNP government elected for the first time. Dr Colin Shedden, director of BASC Scotland said: “Over 40% of the 129 recently-elected Members of the Scottish Parliament stated their support for shooting in BASC Scotland’s web campaign. There will, over the next five years, be a number of key areas of political interest for Scotland’s 100,000 shooters.
“On airguns the SNP has stated: “We do believe that a licensing system for airguns is necessary as action must be taken to ensure that only those who have legitimate need for them have access to them. BASC members would count under this definition, and it would be a priority in drafting legislation to ensure this was the case.”
“BASC Scotland opposes the devolution of airguns to the Scottish Parliament, should a licensing scheme become a requirement it welcomes the commitment to BASC members.
BASC Scotland has also questioned the need for a ballistics database, since the number of crimes committed with legally held firearms is almost non-existent.”
“Hopefully the campaign for a tail docking exemption for working dogs should be resolved next year, with commissioned research due to be completed by the end of May 2012. BASC Scotland hopes that the research will confirm the need for prophylactic tail shortening for working gundogs on welfare grounds.”
In Wales, Labour fell just short of being able to form a majority government. Glynn Cook, director of BASC Wales said: “BASC Wales has had a good working relationship with Labour representatives in the past, particularly with party leader Carwyn Jones, and we will be working with all the elected Assembly members to ensure cross-party support for shooting sports in the future. Throughout the election process both BASC Wales and BASC members in Wales have stressed to prospective candidates the importance of shooting to the rural economy of Wales. We will continue to drive this message home to all the newly elected Assembly members".
In Northern Ireland there was little movement in the political make up of the Assembly. Tommy Mayne, director of BASC Northern Ireland said: “Shooting sports will enjoy a very similar level of support that it had prior to the Assembly election. Key supporters such as Edwin Poots, Francie Molloy, Danny Kinahan and Patsy McGlone to name but a few, will no doubt continue to represent the interests of the province’s shooting community at Stormont. The results from our web based lobbying campaign show that of the 40 candidates that responded to emails from our members, 31 responded stating their support for shooting sports. BASC would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our members who took the time to email Assembly candidates on the run up to the election. We would also like to thank those candidates that responded in support of shooting sports.”
For more information please call the BASC press office on 01244 573031.