New firearms consultation is the most important in 35 years, says BASC

Two shooters in a field

The Minister for Crime and Policing Chris Philp has today (29 June) launched an eight-week consultation on firearms licensing.

BASC has billed it as the most important consultation on firearms ownership in 35 years and is urging members to respond so that the shooting community has a voice in decisions that will have an impact for decades to come.

BASC director of firearms Bill Harriman said: “This is the most significant and important firearms licensing consultation in 35 years. It is essential that the shooting community respond and feed in their views.

“People must not be silent and think others will do the work for them. The shooting community must respond in numbers. Make sure you have your say.”

BASC welcomes many of the proposals announced by the Minister today, including mandatory involvement of GPs and the review of the length of a certificate.

Mr Harriman added: “While there are many sensible suggestions within the consultation, any proposals must be evidence-led and proven to enhance public safety without disproportionately hindering legitimate shooting activities.

“The focus of any changes to legislation should remain on ensuring that the firearms licensing system is workable and efficient. A high level of service and consistency across the 43 licensing departments in England and Wales is essential.

“Since news was first announced that this consultation would be coming, BASC has worked tirelessly to engage relevant figures within government so that the shooting community would have a voice on the proposals. The Minister’s rejection of aligning shotgun and firearms legislation is, therefore, welcome news. This proposal would have crippled an already broken licensing service and significantly reduced the opportunity for new entrants to the sport, all without benefit to public safety.

“The announcement today of the allocation of £500,000 to fund police firearms licensing personnel training, and for this training to become mandatory for all police firearms licensing teams, will enhance public safety.

“BASC remain committed to working with the police and Home Office to ensure a workable and efficient licensing system to the benefit of our members, our response will focus on ensuring that remains the case. BASC will be producing a wider brief for members as soon as possible.”