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Government public consultation on firearms safety

posted 30 Nov 2020, 13:27 by Tony Cattermole
I promised to follow up from my original post regarding the Government consultation just launched. As you may recall government agreed to the consultation following the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 and it has been delayed by Brexit and the pandemic.

We have plenty of time to draft responses with care and we are seeking to resolve some of the other pending issues first, such as the new regulation on antiques and Mars and LR hand-in. However the following may help members to consider the matter further. Clearly BSSC, which brings together many organisations, including those with a specific interests in the points mentioned, will all be working together, and respond appropriately, along with ourselves and others. HBSA Council is fully informed.

Firstly regarding security for high muzzle energy rifles (defined as exceeding 13,600 J ). FCSA will be at the forefront of this together with BSSC. The current storage security may have to be increased in some cases, and FCSA will be negotiating this for their members together with ourselves, BSSC, and other BSSC members.

Regarding ammunition, the issue raised is, do controls on ammunition components need strengthening? We do not believe so. Existing legislation is sufficient. Of course this case will be laid out in more detail. The question of intent may be addressed if necessary.

The 11(4) exemption that allows a person running a miniature rifle range to acquire firearms and ammunition without a certificate, is not considered tenable in today's society. However 11(4) has other notable benefits. I will not lay out here the long history, coming from post Boer War.

This exemption is is in the law and an exemption certificate is not needed - one can rely on the law. A range certificate is not needed from NSRA to get their insurance - the H & S rules apply anyway! There are other elements of 11(4) which in practice greatly assist to bring in new shooters - anyone can go into a “club” and shoot after signing a Sect. 21 declaration.

The latter in particular is recognised as a benefit to the shooting community by the Home Office. The Home Office visited Bisley and a local club to gather information on operation of 11(4). In addition to the Home Office, we also discussed this issue in a meeting with the Minister last February.

A paper was prepared working with Graham Burns (NSRA rep to BSSC) for the NSRA and with my input for BSSC/HBSA. BSSC then sent it to the Minister after all members agreed the document. NSRA agree that the FAC route has to be taken for “the person” and that the “11(4) certificate” is not necessary. Certifying ranges is different and is safety related. The paper is not public at this stage but the points will be amplified in our response on this topic.

It is always difficult to share detailed information when a discussion with authorities is in course. Our views, especially together with BSSC, do carry weight, and reflect the time and effort put in by all those involved.

Finally regarding air guns and young people, we do need them to be able to have access in proper circumstances, especially for schools, scouts and cadets, and this will be discussed with the entities involved and included in our response.

I hope that this is helpful and will give more feedback as and when possible.

Meanwhile I urge forum posts made to be factual and balanced and useful as well as polite.

Thank you.
Derek Stimpson
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