5 May 2016 – Members of Labour’s shadow cabinet are supporting a Labour tax on all shooters, as tabled in the Policing and Crime Bill 2016.
13 Jan 2016 – “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” – Ingsoc party slogan, Nineteen Eighty Four, George Orwell.
Britain, the EU country pushing hardest to support the EU plan to ban all semi-automatic firearms, has got a British politician appointed as rapporteur for the firearms review.
Emails sent by and on behalf of Labour MEPs to constituents reveal that the party will not represent the concerns of target shooters to the European Parliament in the fight against the EU gun ban plan.
Evidence is emerging that British Labour Party MEPs and the sole remaining Liberal Democrat MEP plan to vote in favour of the EU gun ban, harming their voters’ interests and putting small businesses into jeopardy.
UK Shooting News’ author likes to keep up to date with the law. After all, it is the criminal law which regulates in such minute detail how we conduct our peaceful hobby, and where other pastimes are regulated by their sporting bodies, our conduct is regulated by disapproving police employees, ignorant juries, uninterested judges – and the threat of criminal sanction and years in prison.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that the act of learning to shoot in Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a criminal offence carrying no less than life imprisonment.
You’re off your rocker, you tell me, dear reader. Come on, you’ve completely lost it this time, haven’t you?
I haven’t. From section 54 of the Terrorism Act 2000, I give you this:
The Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 raised the maximum sentence in sub-section (6)(a) to life imprisonment. That amendment is not shown on the screenshot above.
So what, you say? Clearly us lawful shooters aren’t involved in terrorism else we’d all have been shut down overnight.
It matters because the language used here creates a presumption of guilt for anyone giving or receiving any training in firearms use and means we have to prove we are innocent, rather than prosecutors having to show we are guilty. Normally, in English law, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution. If you’re alleged to have committed a crime the prosecution must do all the legwork and prove to a jury that you are guilty. You do not have to justify yourself because you’re presumed to be innocent; if the prosecution case isn’t good enough, you walk free. Where there is a presumption of guilt, as with the section above, you’re in jeopardy unless you can prove otherwise.
In practice this means you – yes, you – could be arrested, imprisoned on remand and then be forced to pay four or five figures in legal fees and costs simply to justify your lawful hobby. The power exists for the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to do this if they feel like it.
Now is a good time to sound out your newly-elected MP and ask whether they support the continued lawful use of firearms for sport and recreation. You never know just when you’ll need their help.
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.