Retailer WHSmith appears to be removing age restrictions on the sale of shooting magazines in its stores after a lobbying campaign by people who shoot, magazine publishers and organisations including the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).
BASC members and others have been visiting WHSmith stores, emailing the company and lobbying through social media after it was discovered that till prompts were in use which imposed a minimum age of 14 for people wishing to purchase shooting magazines. An online petition, organised by a BASC Young Shot member has already attracted 12,000 signatures.
BASC Chief Executive John Swift said: “WHSmith has been unable to produce a convincing argument as to why some shooting titles were not being sold to under 14s. Their stated reasons included reference to free gifts given away with magazines, which we understand happens only very rarely and has not included any age-restricted items. WHSmith also said the till prompts have been in place for six years, but have recently been given more prominence after a series of refresher training courses. Shooting magazines contain many articles about safety, best practice, conservation and rural life and are a valuable resource for any young person starting out in shooting”.
WHSmith refuses to confirm that till prompts have been removed in all of its stores but has said that they do not apply to the “majority of shooting titles which we sell”.
BASC is encouraging members to visit WHSmith stores to see if age-related till prompts are still being used for shooting magazines and to inform the organisation if they are.