The Sportsmans Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The Sportsmans Association exists to fight for fair firearms legislation in the UK.
Shooting as we Emerge from Lockdown
As chairman of BSSC Jonathan Djanogly MP wrote the following to Rt Hon Oliver Dowden MP, Secretary of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. “It has been suggested that outdoor sports such as golf and angling might be amongst the first to benefit from an easing of the current ‘lockdown’ restrictions. I would suggest that shooting sports such as clay target shooting and target rifle shooting might be equally suitable.”
The National Police Chiefs Council responded with “As such our guidance to forces is clear; any facilities associated with outdoor sports and physical activities, including shooting ranges, can now reopen, if those responsible for them feel ready to do so and if they can do so safely, and in line with related public health guidance. Our advice extends to outdoor pest control and deer management, where, by definition, such tasks cannot be done from home, police should not hinder those fulfilling said functions, on the proviso that they are doing so in line with guidance and within the law.”
BASC have produced a guide for deer stalking, pest control & game management, please see online.
The NRA re-opened Century, Stickledown, Butt Zero and NCSC clay ranges weekends only as of 23/5/2020. On 13/6/2020 a new range, Chobham Ridge, has been opened with multiple steel plates at varying distances. Short Siberia was re-opened on 19/6/2020. Please check the NRA website for the procedures they have put in place, all bookings must be made on-line.
The NRA and NSRA have produced guidance for outdoor clubs to re-open, so keep checking their websites for updates.
CZECHS STAND UP TO EU ON LEAD SHOT BAN
The Czech Republic once again stands up to the EU and forces the European Commission to “end without result” the voting on the restrictions on lead shot over wetlands. 15/7/20.
23 Member States, including CZ and GB, already have bans on the use of lead shot over wetlands, but the proposals being voted on went far beyond, with unclear and overly broad definitions of wetlands, and the abandonment of innocence until proven guilty, among a variety of other legal ambiguities.
The Czech Republic has a government that strongly supports the lawful use and ownership of firearms, and has the strength to challenge the EU when it feels the directives imposed on them restrict the freedoms of the Czech people. On this occasion they opposed the online voting procedure, and the definitions of wetlands, they asked for the proposals to be referred back to the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) committee.
The Czechs intervention gives lobbyists a short window of opportunity to have the proposed regulations revised, as some think a vote on a fourth revision of these proposals could be as early as September, although it is not yet known when the REACH committee will next meet.
EU Regulation – Lead in Gunshot In or Around Wetlands
By 15/7/2020 Member States of the EU will have confirmed, in a written vote, whether they agree to the proposed restrictions on lead shot over wetlands. FACE are urging member nations to reject the proposal due to serious legal and practical issues.
Banning possession/carrying of lead gunshot: The Commission proposes “anyone found in or around wetlands carrying lead gunshot while out shooting, or as part of going shooting, is presumed to be carrying that gunshot while out wetland shooting, or as part of going wetland shooting”. This establishes a legal presumption that hunters must prove they have not been shooting over wetlands if carrying lead shot. The presumption of innocence is an extremely important EU law in all member states, the burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove an offence. The Commission’s proposal is illegal. Fundamental principles of EU law must not be interfered with for lazy administrative convenience of enforcement.
Definition of Wetlands and Inclusion of Buffer Zones: The Commission propose to use the Ramsar definition of Wetlands, this includes peatlands, wet or dry, and that a 1m² of temporary water, say after rain, constitutes a wetland. Combined with 100m buffer zones, this makes wetland boundaries perpetually movable.
This does not fulfil the principle of legal certainty, making it unlawful and very impractical to administrate.
Transition Period: The EC propose a shorter period of 24 months, rather than the original proposal of 36 months. The transition period should be at least 36 months, and 60 months for countries that do not already have any restrictions in place.
Applicability of REACH to hunters: The original scope of REACH regulations was originally intended for industry. It is unclear whether the REACH regulations can legally apply to hunters as consumers.
The UK is no longer represented within the EU REACH committee. However, the UK Government says the UK will be bound by any Regulation adopted prior to Brexit on 31/12/2020.
If the proposed regulation gets majority support from the Member States it will then pass to the European Parliament and the European Council for scrutiny over three months. If not rejected by the Committee on the Environment, or Public Health and Food Safety it will pass into law.
Every effort is being made by FACE and Associations working with them to make sure the vote on 15/7/2020 does not carry the proposal forward.
More information is available on the following link: https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy-environment/opinion/restricting-lead-gunshot-over-wetlands-why-is-the-european-commission-proposal-so-problematic/
EU’s plans to further restrict the use of lead ammunition.
Further to the above proposal the EU has asked the European Chemicals Agency to “collect information for the assessment of the risk and socio-economic impact of a possible restriction for other uses of lead ammunition, including hunting in other terrains than wetlands and target shooting, as well as for the use of lead weights for fishing”. It is expected that the ECHA will propose a complete ban on lead ammunition because of risk to human health.
The BSSC was approached by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) which was researching the practice of lead capture and recycling on outdoor rifle and clay pigeon shooting ranges in preparation for its dossier on the prohibition of lead in ammunition. The Secretary has sought data from member associations that are involved in target shooting, but with many venues being closed due to covid-19 restrictions the data gathered is incomplete.
As a generalisation, all rifle and pistol ranges that responded, trap, recover and recycle their lead with the income from recycling the lead covering most of the costs involved. There was little water run-off, if any, reported on any of the ranges. Removal of lead is vital for safety reasons not just environmental ones, so we have been doing this for years.
For shotgun ranges/grounds, the shot falls in known areas, but very few venues recover and recycle the lead, mostly because of economic viability, although more venues are addressing the issue and will be recovering and recycling in the future.
Medical Reports for Licence Renewals and Applications
If you are having difficulty obtaining a medical report from your GP for your firearms/shotgun/explosive licence renewal or application, you may want to contact MedCert, a highly eminent group of medical professionals who are very supportive of shooting, to do the report for you.
The idea of MedCert was formed after a day of good shooting, followed by good food and drink, in good company, as many a good idea is. After consultation with all the Firearms Licensing Authorities and many chats with well-known FEO’s, MedCert launched their Website.
MedCert provide a service by doctors, GP’s and above, with a wide medical knowledge base, who will immediately on your application to them, request your medical records from your GP (can take upto 4 weeks to arrive), and within seven days of receiving your notes, write a medical report taking into consideration the licensing criteria. This will then be sent to yourself or to your licensing authority, depending on the individual licensing authorities’ procedures. If there are any further issues with regard to the medical report MedCert will stay with you until your licence is renewed/issued. All this for £50.
MedCert are fully GDPR compliant and no information is shared with anyone else. Each applicants’ medical notes are given a reference number, only the doctor writing the report will know who you are. The report will be entirely evidence based, nothing personal about it. MedCert can not place a medical marker on your records as they do not keep your records. Your licencing authority should ask your GP to place a medical marker on your records on completion of your grant/renewal.
MedCert can be contacted via www.medcert.co.uk , or for those without internet, at MedCert, Zinc Building, Great Stoney, Chipping Ongar, Essex, CM5 OAD
Tel. 020 8063 4503 – Discount for SA Members of 10% using code SA1996
General Licences – Please continue to monitor the websites
The latest from the government as of 30/10/19
European firearms requirements if there’s no Brexit deal
Updated 30 October 2019
UK residents who want to travel to the EU with their firearms or shotguns will no longer be able to apply for a European Firearms Pass (EFP) if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Instead, you should check the firearms licensing requirements of the EU country you’re travelling to, ahead of travelling. These requirements will also apply if you will be in an EU country with your firearm, covered by a EFP, when we leave the EU.
You should continue to apply to your local UK police force for a visitor’s permit if you’re sponsoring an EU visitor who is bringing a firearm to the UK. Permits issued before the UK leaves the EU will remain valid until they expire.
EFPs will not be recognised for EU visitors to the UK and sponsors will no longer be required to show a valid EFP.
The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee sought evidence for its Inquiry into Home Office Preparations for Brexit. The BSSCSecretary prepared a report detailing the value of the European Firearms Pass to the shooting community. The number of EFPs on issue was outlined, as well as the importance of the EFP as a travel document for UK shooters and a simple means of verification by the police of visiting shooters in respect of the issuing of British Visitor Permits. The implications of the loss of the EFP in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit were considered, with the likelihood that UK travelling shooters would have to comply with a variety of documentation procedures required by countries that they were visiting or travelling through, instead of being able to present a single international pass. Acknowledging the possibility that EU citizens would be less likely to shoot in the UK, the report included economic data on the value of country sports to remoter rural communities in Scotland, where shooting and deer stalking are particularly important to the local economy. It was argued that, since several non-EU countries operate the EFP, there would in fact be no need for the UK to drop the EFP after Brexit.
This was discussed again in a meeting in February between BSSC and Minister of State Kit Malthouse MP, who suggested lobbying the EU. FACE will write to both the EU Commission and the UK Government to recommend a Switzerland-style bilateral arrangement on the EFP.
New Postal address
Sportsmans Association of Great Britain & Northern Ireland
PO Box 2379
Office: 07521 508076
Click here to email the Secretary
The Sportsmans Association exists to fight for fair firearms legislation in the UK.