Opposition to a proposed increase in firearms licensing fees in Northern Ireland has been reiterated by the leading shooting and countryside organisations.
The organisations – The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), Countryside Alliance Ireland (CAI) and the Gun Trade Guild NI (GTG NI) said no increase should be introduced without a full, transparent review of the necessary processes and costs involved in firearms licensing.
Department of Justice officials are due to make a presentation to the NI Committee for Justice tomorrow (18 June) at Stormont.
BASC NI director Tommy Mayne said: “The NI Assembly’s Justice Committee has previously rejected the proposal to increase fees on two separate occasions.”
“The proposals would see the cost of a firearms certificate increase from the current £50 for a five year certificate to £121. However, until a full review of costs and processes is produced by the department, we have no idea if this is justified or necessary.”
“BASC has been working closely with our partner organisations on licensing fees and other issues for some time and have made our position clear from the outset. We are opposed to any increase in fees without transparency and we feel that with tomorrow’s presentation to the Justice Committee, it is necessary to re-state our position.”
“The Home Office has established a licensing fees working group in the rest of the UK and we feel that the Department of Justice should establish a similar working group in NI to ensure a proportionate, consistent and transparent set of fees that are in line with the principles of good regulation. We will continue to work jointly with the department, the PSNI, the Justice Committee and the All Party Group on Country Sports to ensure that the NI firearms licensing system is efficient, fair and that shooters and farmers get an acceptable level of service at a fair price.”