29 July 2016 – A gallery rifle club chairman has publicly called for the firearm certificate application process to include formal lessons and a final test before the certificate is granted.
In an interview given to the South Wales Argus about whether shooting sports are a “dangerous risk”, Terry Lowman of Monmouth Rifle Club called for the FAC application process to become like a “driving licence with a course of lessons followed by an exam.”
“That would make it a little more safe,” he said.
While newspaper interviews are always fraught with ambiguity – we don’t know what else Lowman may have said which wasn’t published – it is disappointing to see a member of the licensed firearms community actively calling for new restrictions which are not needed and wouldn’t make anyone any safer.
There are two routes to getting a firearm certificate. Either you are a member of a rifle club, in which case you have to be a probationary member for a minimum of 3 months and receive a course in the safe use of firearms on a one-to-one basis by a full member or a qualified coach. All that takes place before you can legally apply for an FAC for target shooting, never mind receiving the certificate.
Or, you are a pest controller/hunter, and the land you shoot over and the firearm types you may use are directly approved or rejected by the police, usually following a personal inspection by a police employee.
section on DSC1 being all-but-mandatory deleted – see Jackson’s excellent comment below for why.
That Mr Lowman appears to have disregarded all this and instead thinks training courses and exams should be administered by the police is a cause for concern. While he could arguably be excused for his comments – after all, he was up against a former local councillor for Hungerford who held office at the time of the gun murders there, and this driving licence comment was a relative throwaway line compared to all that – it appears this “more restrictions on us now!” attitude is encouraged from the very top of gallery rifle.
Neil Francis, the current NRA rep for the discipline – who once came into UKSN’s comments section to sling mud at your correspondent – got chased off the Full Bore UK forum after managing to outrage even the hotheads on there*, after posting things like “I don’t really count aimless pinking as target shooting” and “People who are more interested in guns than shooting worry me.”
There is no word yet on whether he has called for the abolition of the Historic Breech-loading Small Arms Association or the Lee Enfield Rifle Association.
* Your correspondent managed to get banned from Full Bore UK for being too pro-NRA. No, really.