shoot-1142Improvements to firearms licensing that the Countryside Alliance called for back in March 2016 have now been tabled as Government amendments to the Policing and Crime Bill. The British Shooting Sports Council has welcomed the proposal to extend to the life of a certificate if a renewal has been submitted in a timely fashion and the proposal to move expanding ammunition of the kind used for deer stalking back to Section1.

Following the introduction of the Policing and Crime Bill the Countryside Alliance joined partner organisations in welcoming the proposed improvements to the Firearms Act (1968), but highlighted this moment as a “golden opportunity” to bring further clarity to our firearms law.

Subsequent hard work by David Penn of the British Shooting Sports Council (BSSC), the BSSC member organisations, of which the Countryside Alliance is one, and Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Shooting and Conservation, has resulted in the Government tabling two further amendments to the Firearms Act (1968). One amendment proposes an eight-week extension to the life of a certificate as long as the renewal documents were submitted eight weeks ahead of the certificate’s expiry, to prevent firearms owners from being penalised if their licensing department does not turn their renewal around in good time. The second amendment moves expanding ammunition of the kind used for deer stalking back to Section1, removing the need for a specific police exemption to possess it.

Tim Bonner, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, said: “We are pleased that the Government has taken steps to make the most of the opportunity the Countryside Alliance highlighted back in March. We are very grateful for the hard work and leadership of Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP, the Minister Brandon Lewis MP and the BSSC’s David Penn in securing these significant improvements to the Firearms Act.

“These amendments have the support of the Government, the shooting community and the police, pose no threat to public safety but will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our firearms laws. We also understand the Government are working on a further improvement to firearms legislation, which we look forward to welcoming in due course. Together these amendments will have a real, positive impact on the lives of our members.”