Rifle clubs have just over 24 hours left to formally object to the government’s plans to hike Home Office Approval fees by more than a thousand pounds.
Most shooters simply don’t care and expect it’s someone else’s problem to sort out. UKSN expects Home Office Approval fees to skyrocket to £850 or so – a token reduction from the £1,000+ hike above the £84 current rate. UKSN’s author has seen FOI responses forwarded by readers indicating that the government is in no mood to see sense.
This will kill off a number of smaller established clubs. The £400+ proposed fee for periodic modifications to the approval, such as changing secretary, will destroy university rifle clubs whose entire committees tend to rotate every 3-4 years, and make it financially unviable for anyone except the rich to start a new rifle club.
Killing off new and youth target shooting clubs is one of the main Home Office objectives of this exercise. It’s one of the last half dozen nails in the coffin of formal target shooting and the people affected don’t care. By the time they notice their club membership fees shooting up to absorb the costs, it will be too late to stop this. Doubtless the ostriches will have a grump to themselves about incompetent club committees and walk away.
Although the inevitable internet petition has been set up, it’ll go the same way as the various “bring back pistol shooting” petitions from last year, which were firmly ignored by the countryside tweed’n’shotguns brigade despite the best efforts of the Countryside Alliance and BASC to promote them. Some shooters even said there is no place for pistol shooting in the UK.
We should accept that rifle range target shooting in the UK is a sport whose likely lifespan is no greater than three decades. Its participants simply do not care about its future enough to fight off direct threats from cash-guzzling civil servants whose personal politics have been allowed to taint their public service function.