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Improvements to firearms legislation and what they mean for shooters

PUBLISHED: 12:28 11 January 2017 | UPDATED: 12:28 11 January 2017

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Two improvements to firearms law which were proposed by the Countryside Alliance (CA) have been moved by government as amendments to the Policing and Crime Bill...

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Two improvements to firearms law which were proposed by the Countryside Alliance (CA) have been moved by government as amendments to the Policing and Crime Bill, in the House of Lords; the amendments concern firearm certificate renewals and expanding ammunition.

The changes mean that if a renewal has been submitted in a timely fashion and the police have failed to complete the process before the expiry date, the certificate will remain valid for a further period of eight weeks; while expanding ammunition of the kind used for deer stalking moves back to Section 1.

Chief executive of the CA, Tim Bonner explains what the changes would mean for licence holders: “As many of you will unfortunately be aware, some police forces are consistently failing to renew licences on time and that can create real problems for licence holders who will either be left with a restricted temporary permit, or have to lodge their guns with another licence holder until theirs is renewed.

“The [first] amendment means that if a renewal application has been made in good time then the licence can be extended for a period of up to eight weeks after its original expiry date.

“The second amendment deals with a classic contradiction in our legislation which means that someone who holds a firearms licence which specifically allows them to own a rifle for the purpose of managing deer must also have a specific exemption from the police to possess the expanding ammunition which is legally required for deer culling. The amendment moves expanding ammunition back to Section 1, removing the need for the totally unnecessary police exemption.

“These amendments are of benefit both to licence holders and the police licensing department, and we look forward to them becoming legally binding in the near future. Changing the law is a long and complex business and we are very grateful for the support of Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP, the Minister, Brandon Lewis MP, and the British Shooting Sports Council in securing these significant improvements to firearms legislation for you.”

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