Countryside Alliance Director of Campaigns Tim Bonner writes: One of shooting’s greatest assets is its accessibility. A shotgun is no more expensive than a set of golf clubs and the cost of joining a wildfowling or clay shooting club is less than the average golf course subscription or football season ticket. There are some, of course, who are only too ready to peddle the myth that everyone who shoots is a millionaire. Leading the way is the Guardian’s George Monbiot happily suggesting that everyone who shoots is a “plutocrat”, but fails to mention that easily the highest per capita ownership of shotguns is in Dyfed Powys where average incomes are amongst the lowest in the UK. Mr Monbiot cannot even claim ignorance as he lives (you guessed it) in Dyfed Powys.
To ensure that as many people as possible can shoot it is important, amongst other things, that the cost of a licence to own a gun is not prohibitive. That cost has not risen for many years and it is perfectly reasonable for the Government to ask licence holders to contribute more, even though some of the figures being bandied around by both the police and the Labour party would serve to exclude some people from taking up and continuing shooting.
After protracted negotiation the Government has now put its own proposals to consultation and the Alliance has given them full support. The figures are based on an analysis of the costs of administering the licensing system and include increasing the fee payable on the grant of a shotgun certificate from £50 to £79.50, and on the grant of a firearm certificate from £50 to £88. Renewals would rise from £40 to £49 for a shotgun certificate and £62 for a firearms licence.
It is very important that as many people as possible respond to the consultation so please take a moment, and it does only take a moment, to respond online here.
Follow Tim on Twitter @CA_TimB