The Guardian has reported that pressure from shooting groups will ‘skew’ government consultation on gun laws

The claim

THE PAPER says the ‘powerful UK gun lobby’ has been accused of mobilising tens of thousands of shooters to skew consultation after killings in Plymouth in 2021.  Click here to see the original article.

The article claims that the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) is among those groups that sought to skew the consultation.

To be clear, the BASC has done some amazing work for shooters in the UK, including identifying the economic value of the shooting sports.

Without that, the UK government would have no information on just how important shooting is to the UK economy.

The accusers

As we have seen in other countries, small, unknown anti-gun groups – in this case the Gun Control Network, have been able to get their small, unrepresentative voice into the media and call the professional work of others into question.

If you go to their website, you will actually find very little on who is behind it or who they represent.

What they said

The ‘network’ said those taking part in the consultation should have been asked to declare if they were shooters or not. 

Luke Pollard, MP

Plymouth MP, Luke Pollard, also said the ‘gun lobby’ is arguing for no changes to Britain’s ‘broken gun laws’ and that they are ‘deliberately failing to learn the lessons from the Plymouth shooting’.

That’s a tough call to make.

Pollard also said the UK needs ordinary people to “make a stand an send in their views” to the consultation.

What this is about

The consultation was around firearms licensing of shotguns.  

Contrary to the claims of anti-gun campaigners, there are some enhancements to licensing that will help shooters, however the main problem was that ‘statutory firearms licensing guidance’ would have had several detrimental impacts for the shooting sports.

Among them were:

  • A potential loss of tens of thousands of firearms owners over the next five years with serious knock-on impacts on businesses
  • The creation of a multi-million pound medical record checks industry funded by the shooting community with no benefit to that community or to public safety.
  • Mandatory GP involvement in firearms licensing being rolled out nationwide with no safeguards in place to protect applicants from GPs refusing to take part or charging extortionate fees.
  • Police interviewing applicants’ neighbours on their suitability to own guns thereby putting certificate holders at risk.
  • Police seeking credit or other financial tests on applicants and considering debt as a factor in decision making.

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