The enforcement of strict new security specifications for registered firearms dealers in Northern Ireland has been postponed by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). An initial deadline for dealers to comply and install new security measures or lose their authority to trade had been set for July 1st.
BASC NI and many of Northern Ireland’s firearms dealers had expressed concern over the PSNI’s lack of consultation on the requirements which could be prohibitively costly and sometimes unnecessary.
BASC NI also felt that letters being sent out by the PSNI Firearms and Explosives Branch Inspectorate (PSNI FEB) were both threatening and dictatorial. The letter stated that a failure to comply by 1st July would mean the start of a process to revoke dealership licences, removing their ability to lawfully sell firearms. The issue has caused many trade members and their families significant stress and worry.
BASC NI has made an official complaint to the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland about the PSNI’s failure to consult on the security specification. BASC NI has also raised its concerns with the PSNI’s Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton, the Justice Minister, the Committee for Justice, the Head of PSNI FEB and the Head of the PSNI’s Firearms Inspectorate. BASC has also worked with other organisations including the Gun Trade Guild NI to put the issue in front of senior politicians and police officers.
Lord Morrow, Chair of the All-Party Group on Country Sports in the Northern Ireland Assembly has also taken the matter up at the highest levels and BASC NI is grateful for the support of the All-Party Group.
Tommy Mayne, director of BASC NI said: “I am pleased that the PSNI has finally listened to reason and to the concerns of our firearms dealers and elected representatives. Whilst ensuring the security of lawful firearms is important, imposing unnecessary and expensive new security requirements without meaningful consultation with affected businesses and representative organisations was wrong.
“Many dealers have suffered stress and worry about how they could afford to comply with the requirements on time. BASC NI hopes that the police will now undertake genuine meaningful consultation and engage with stakeholders to draft a sensible, workable and effective security specification that is appropriate to the size of the dealership and affordable for small businesses.”