16 Dec 2016 – BASC has said it doesn’t care about the impact of the EU gun ban on others and that Britain is a “model” for those seeking to harm shooting sports through legislation.
In a eulogy of British MEP Vicky Ford’s partially successful efforts to negotiate against the EU gun ban – formally known as revisions to the EU Firearms Directive – BASC’s Matt Perring told the website Shooting UK, the web arm of Shooting Times and Shooting Gazette:
“Discussions with IMCO, chaired by Vicky Ford MEP, and successful lobbying of MEPs has led to the UK’s interests being protected. The UK is fortunate to be a model member state with many solutions already in place, so very little will affect us.”
“Medical and criminal checks will remain the status quo — the UK already does what the EU is seeking to introduce Europe-wide,” Perring added.
The UK does not carry out psychological tests, which the EU gun ban wording will permit. Neither does the UK carry out active medical tests, which, again, will be authorised in the gun ban’s wording.
BASC’s attitude is shockingly disrespectful to shooters in the free countries of Europe who campaigned alongside FACE, the official British shooting lobby group at EU level, to stop the EU gun ban. While UK Shooting News had long known that British bureaucrats were quietly working away behind the scenes to impose the most sclerotic and invasive elements of the British licensing system on the EU, to see a supposedly pro-shooting association endorsing the ban is inexcusable.
These sorts of statements were meant to have been eradicated from BASC following its internal turmoil over the summer. Large numbers of ex-police employees had been recruited by the association and questions were increasingly being asked in the wider shooting community about their true motivations, particularly with BASC doing stupid things like supporting the infamous shop-a-gun-owner hotline dreamt up by former top firearms licensing cop Andy Marsh.
Shooting UK also repeated the EU spin that the gun ban, which sought to outlaw semi-automatic rifles and their magazines, is intended to stop terrorism. As UKSN reported way back when this was first floated, the proposal had been swilling around the bowels of Brussels (and were published in the April 2015 “European Security Agenda” document) long before the Bataclan mass murder gave Eurocrats the excuse they were looking for. The EU has publicly confessed that the ban will not tackle terrorism.
Ford took to Twitter yesterday to publicly cast doubt on the contents of a leaked letter she wrote to EU MEPs summarising the final details of the ban, the precise wording of which will be rubber-stamped in January or February next year. She did not elaborate on her claim that the letter or its UKSN summary were inaccurate, which is the classic trick deployed by those who have been caught red-handed doing something they know is wrong.
UK Shooting News’ position is that Ford does deserve credit, and plenty of it, for killing off the blanket semi-auto rifle ban as originally proposed. However, by endorsing the magazine ban demanded by the EU Commission, Ford has imperilled the peaceful hobbies of millions of people across the 28-state political bloc. UK disciplines such as practical shotgun and Civilian Service Rifle are now in a state of confusion as to whether magazines used for their firearms – which are often identical to those used to feed semi-auto rifles – will still be obtainable without a lengthy and (presumably) costly section 5 dispensation.
The UK’s only hope is to persuade Parliament not to rubber-stamp the EU gun ban into UK law. If the EU’s proposed timetable for implementation is not lengthened, the ban will have come into force domestically by about May 2018. With Brexit not occurring until March 2019 at the earliest, that is a potential ten month window we have to close.
Perhaps a letter-writing campaign to the Home Office minister responsible for firearms licensing, Brandon Lewis, and Brexit Secretary of State David Davis (notable for his pro-freedom work before entering government) would help tip the balance before it’s too late?