24 Jan 2017 – Users of a shooting forum have been commenting upon the £1,000 fee hike proposed by the Home Office, and the attitudes on display reveal how pistol shooting was banned in 1997.
The Full Bore UK forum, which bills itself as “supporting all legal firearm owners, collectors, enthusiasts, shooters and competitors by promoting and encouraging legitimate gun ownership and use in the UK through unity, advocacy and discussion” has a thread running about the fee hike which was brought to UKSN’s attention earlier today.
The fees hike will kill off smaller rifle clubs, particularly university rifle clubs which are run by and for students. Typically, a university club of around 20 members will turn over less than £8,000 in an academic year of 6 or 7 months’ operation, normally running at a modest loss. Grants from students’ unions, if given to rifle clubs at all, may stretch to around £1,000 and cover that loss.
University clubs are largely dependent upon these grants for covering overheads such as affiliations, approval and insurance, with student members’ subs used to fund ammunition and occasional expenditure on new kit.
When this was pointed out, FBUK member ‘HALODIN’ replied: “If the worst comes to the worst and our finest students aren’t entrepreneurial enough to raise a measly £900, then they simply deserve their fate. They could of course stop being victims, ask for donations, have a jumble sale, appeal for sponsorship, get a loan or pay it out of their own bloody money. It’s not that I don’t care, but I don’t care about people who don’t care to help themselves.”
‘therunningman’ added: “£900 over 6 years is only £150 a year….hardly break the bank stuff….”
The Home Office Approval fee is payable upfront. There is no pay-by-instalments option.
“The fees will be affordable as a lump sum depending on the size of the club and how well it has been run,” said ‘Robert303’.
While other forum users chipped in to rebut these posts, it is instructive how, even when faced with a direct existential threat that may well cut the sport off at its knees by choking out a major source of new shooters, many are still making like ostriches, putting their heads into the sand and as good as blurting out “I’m alright, Jack!”
UKSN wonders exactly how many responses to the lazy and biased consultation will be seized upon by Home Office bureaucrats, acting in concert with Labour and the Gun Control Network, to justify full imposition of these punitive fees.
The NRA published its response to the fees consultation yesterday, and while late, it is very welcome and pleasingly robust. The consultation closes in early March. UKSN’s views on it can be found here.