The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid MP, has confirmed that the Government is looking to “maintain access” to the European Firearms Pass (EFP) post Brexit. This is the first time the Government has publicly confirmed it is aiming to keep the arrangements which enable people to travel across Europe with lawful firearms with a single document.
In a letter to the Countryside Alliance, the Home Secretary states “The Government expects to reach a deal with the EU and in doing so would look to maintain access to the system of European Firearms Passes.” The Countryside Alliance called for the EFP to be maintained as part of our new relationship with Europe to recognise the benefits of country sports tourism to the UK and countries within Europe.
The letter also states that in the event of leaving the EU without a deal, “UK residents would no longer be able to use an EFP to travel with their firearm and they would need to comply with whatever licensing requirements each EU country imposes.” This confirms the advice set out in a guidance note published by the Government last year.
The UK is currently due to leave the EU on 31 October, but the Government has stated it is looking to agree and approve a deal as soon as possible.
The Home Secretary’s comments were made in response to a letter from the Countryside Alliance, which raised concerns about the Government’s proposals for work and travel arrangements outside the EU, set out in a White Paper published last year.
Countryside Alliance Political Relations Manager, James Somerville-Meikle, commented: “We are pleased that the Government has recognised the importance of the EFP. It has been a game changer, since their introduction in the UK in 1993, by reducing the cost and bureaucracy of travelling across Europe with lawfully held firearms.
“Over 15,500 European Firearms Passes were granted last year in the UK, giving thousands the opportunity to take part in game and sport shooting across Europe.
“Many rural communities in this country depend on country sports tourism, particularly in the winter months when income from other forms of tourism declines. Visitors from countries within the EU are an important part of this market and it is essential that country sports in the UK remain easily accessible to people from Europe post-Brexit.
“We will be working hard to hold the Government to their commitment. We must ensure that our future relationship with Europe supports shooting and the rural economy.”