Too little, too late? BASC finally wakes up to Labour’s threat to shooting

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation seems to have finally realised that the Labour Party will do untold damage to shooting sports in Britain if it wins the election.

A press release re-issued today querulously wonders whether Labour has paid any attention to recent gun licensing fee increases:

The UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), which has a membership of over 140,000, has questioned the Labour Party’s policy on raising the fees for firearms licences announced today.

As part of its Crime and Justice Manifesto the Labour Party signalled that it wanted to “end the police subsidy of gun licences”.

In fact, firearms licence fees increased on 6 April 2015.

It gets better:

BASC Chairman Alan Jarrett said: “The introduction of new fees this week marked a successful conclusion of discussions with the police and the government which began more than two years ago. We had previously explained this to Labour spokespeople and we wrote to Ed Balls in January to explain the situation. We were therefore surprised and puzzled by today’s announcement from the Labour Party to again increase gun licensing fees on the premise of eradicating a subsidy that does not exist. We fear that imposing a tax on shooting will result in unintended consequences, harming economic activity, conservation and people’s well-being.

I don’t know whether it’s worth trying to make the obvious point here to BASC. Those bolded consequences are not “unintended”. They are the exact result that Labour wants from its policy of jacking up firearm and shotgun certificate fees to punitive levels if they get into power. We don’t need to “explain” anything to Labour – we need to come out fighting and strongly challenge them; force them to admit that they’re talking nonsense and lying to the electorate.

Don’t get me wrong – this is a welcome move from BASC. What would be good for shooting as a whole, though, is if this line of thought developed. Rapidly.

I’ve long suspected that senior elements within British policing secretly want a massive fee hike and have been quietly working behind the scenes with Labour to secure a future profit stream for cash-hungry police forces. Two years ago ACPO and Labour messaging on a fee hike was remarkably similar. ACPO – naturally – denied any links when I questioned them. The Home Office fees review that shortly followed cut them down to size by forcing the police to show their working, admit they massively overstated the full cost recovery figure, and agree to accurate full cost recovery fees instead. That should have been an end to the matter – but wasn’t.

Politically the issue of a punitive fee hike plays strongly with the far left urban vote (think violent masked thug brigade) that Labour wants to grab back from extremist parties. That is the only reason Labour wants to hurt shooters – for the sake of playing politics and seizing power.

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