BASC’s political affairs team work to promote the interests of shooting at Westminster, in the devolved parliaments and in Brussels.
Shooters need a strong voice at the heart of Government and BASC provides this by championing shooting sports in Whitehall, political parties and Europe.
At Westminster, we regularly brief MPs encouraging them to participate in the sport, and provide the secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Shooting and Conservation. The key messages we deliver are:
- BASC is the largest and best resourced shooting organisation with the expertise and the critical mass to do the job.
- Together we are stronger and make your voice heard where it counts.
- BASC is all-party, well-informed, evidence-based, constructive and worth working with.
- BASC protects your right to own and use legitimate firearms through the work of our expert firearms team (the only dedicated firearms team in a British shooting organisation).
In this section, you can find out about our work in Westminster, what the major political parties have to say about shooting, and how to lobby members of parliament.
For more information on our political programme, please call 01244 573 031 (during office hours).
How to lobby your MP
The best way to get your message across to a politician is to meet them face-to-face. Every MP holds a regular ‘surgery’ in their constituency, often on a weekly basis – check your local paper for details, phone your local council or your MP in the House of Commons on 020 7219 3000.
If you don’t know your MP’s name call the public information office on 020 7219 4272 and they will identify him for you from your address, or click here.
- Phone for an appointment at the surgery.
- Write to your MP first, briefly stating the points you will raise and who will be coming.
- Be confident, plain and straightforward and don’t use your visit to threaten the MP – it will guarantee a loss of sympathy.
- Always start by thanking the MP for making the appointment.
- Careful planning is the key to successful lobbying. Settle on three or four main points and leave most of the details to arise from questions the MP asks.
- Leave a piece of prepared information. Say that you would appreciate the opportunity of a further meeting should any other important issues arise.
- If there are any important local BASC or club functions, send the MP an invitation – the gesture will be appreciated. Regular contact is an important factor in lobbying.
- If the MP promises to write on your behalf to a minister or someone else, let a respectable period elapse, then write asking if there has been any reply.
You will be visiting your MP to tell them about shooters’ concerns for the future of the sport, and that you are interested to know where your MP stands on the matter.
- Tell the member what kind of shooting you do
- If they are not familiar with it, explain briefly and invite them along to find out more
- If you are a member of a club say which one
- Tell them why you enjoy shooting and how responsible a sport it is
- Tell the member about the conservation benefits of the sport
- Tell them about any wildlife habitat management you have done
- If there are questions you cannot answer, please ask BASC to help you, and tell the member you will get back to them
- Remember that you are an ambassador for your sport, so use your charm.
If you write to your MP or meet them, make a point of copying the correspondence or sending the details to BASC, Marford Mill, Rossett, Wrexham LL12 0HL, telephone 01244 573031, or email.
This information will help the Association in its day-to-day contact with parliamentarians.
The Shooters Charter was published in 2001 to inform MPs of what shooters wanted from the government.
The UK’s gun laws are amongst the strictest in the world. Shooting is also one of the safest sports in the UK. Further unwarranted restrictions on the lawful possession of shotguns and other firearms made without any demonstrable benefit to public safety must be opposed. The present licensing system will ensure that only fit and proper people own guns – provided it is properly administered. To achieve better administration recognised working groups should be created which bring together all interests, including government, police and shooting organisations.
Future Olympic medal winners need to be trained at an early age. BASC’s training programs for those who wish to take up shooting sports also teach safety and respect for the conservation of the countryside and wildlife. Any legislative restrictions on young people entering the sport, without any demonstrable benefit to public safety must be opposed.
We urge the government to implement effective strategies to tackle the use of guns by criminals. More must be done to eradicate illegally held weapons. Poaching must be recognised as a serious offence, causing economic and environmental damage. The law should be reformed so that gamekeepers and police are properly equipped to tackle this rural crime.
Shooting interests manage an area the size of Scotland. Half of Britain’s gamekeepers care for land that is legally protected for its wildlife or beauty. BASC’s Green Shoots Biodiversity Action Plan harnesses this effort and provides a strategy for conservation on shooting land. We urge candidates to promote Green Shoots as a practical tool to achieve national and local biodiversity targets.
Read Dr Conor O’Gorman’s blog on the role sustainable shooting has to play in the government’s ambitious plans for nature recovery in England.
Following Senned elections on 6 May, find out what the formation of the new Welsh Government means for shooting and rural life in Wales.