Category Archives: No to Airgun Licencing in England & Wales

No to Airgun Licencing in England & Wales Campaign Blog Posts

Update to Trans Equality in Shooting Sports

Today I have been busy emailing and writing letters to various politicians and shooting bodies about Trans Equality in Shooting Sports (TESS) as well over the airgun licencing campaign. I will quote some of the passages from the letters in this post and they will be surrounded by quote marks.

The emails and letters went to the Prime Mnister, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Maria Miller, Micheal Fallon (my own MP), Richard Ashworth MEP, Nigel Farage MEP (both MEPs for the South East England) the President of the European Commission. the NSRA and the ISSF.

The fist part of the letter concerns airgun licencing in England and Wales campaign. For that I used one of the template letters. The main part of this post is about TESS. It seems that the powers that be don’t care about this issue as it does not affect them. Well it does affect them.  I have emailed the Department of Culture media and Sports twice without reply over the equality issue which is why I have written to the Secretary of State.

I have been is contact with the Equality Advisory Service and they tried to answer my questions but went away with more questions. They haven’t been in contact since.

‘UK Sport did contact me back and said they had no list of what sports were gender-affected. Who actually defines when a sport is gender-affected? UK Sport told me it is the sport’s governing body. That can’t be right as it gives that sport carte blanch to discriminate. ‘ Since when did Government allow non government agencies to decide how they would obey the law?

‘Thomas Bach said in his speech that ‘Respect means that we all fight together against any form of discrimination on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender, sexual orientation or any other prejudice’. Clearly this is a false statement as is the statement he made a little later on ‘we can proudly say: The Olympic Movement stands for the human right to play sport, stands for global solidarity, stands for equal rights for all the athletes of the world’. What about the rights of Trans athletes? After all they are human beings and protected under the law. ‘

What Thomas Bach said during the opening of Sochi 2014 is clearly rubbish considering the iOC’s own rules on trans competitors. Does he know his own organisations discriminatory rules that ban certain people from sport. I have written to him but have got no response. I will contact him again after the current Games are over.

‘The sport of shooting has had a health benefit as it has helped me reduce my blood pressure. Why should the enjoyment of my chosen sport and my health suffer because of discrimination that is sanctioned by, perhaps, the most powerful sporting body in the world? Yet no Government seem to be able to or wants to challenge them on this blatant piece of discrimination against an already marginalised section of society. Is this right or fair? Of course it is not but why do people keep quiet about this? Is it because that it doesn’t affect them? Well I’m not keeping quiet. I want to be able to compete in the sport I love.’

What more I can say about that paragraph. Is the IOC above the law because no Government wants to say ‘hang on, this blanket ban is wrong and illegal under our laws. You need to rethink this rule.’

I will keep on fighting because it is my human right to participate in sport and my right to shoot and no one will take that right away without one hell of a fight.

Before I close I would like to thank the team of Firearms UK for a) supporting my campaign and b) inviting me to join them. It has proved to me that I am not alone. thank you guys.

Kate G

Write To Them – Quick Guide

The Write To Them online service is really easy to use, however just in case anyone needs any help we have produced this user guide.

WriteToThem-image

So, you own an airgun?

A Firearms UK meme from the "Unity Series" on Airgun Shooters

Please join us on our airgun campaign Facebook pages or our Firearms UK Facebook page to discuss this meme, or any other firearms and shooting related topics.

Airguns are not weapons…

A Firearms UK meme on why its wrong to call airguns weapons

Please join us on the campaign Facebook page or the Firearms UK Facebook page to discuss this meme, or any other firearms and shooting related topics.

No to Airgun Licencing, England & Wales

Bellow you will find an example of a letter you can send to your MP. The aim of the letter is to register your opposition to the licencing of Airguns, both in Scotland and in England and Wales. Crucially you can also use such a letter to request your MP to support lawful airgun owners, and to not support any proposals to introduce similar legislative changes as that suggested by the Scottish government for England and Wales.

To find out who your local MP is we recommend the use of a website called “WriteToThem”. On the website you simply enter in your postcode and it’ll provide you with details of your MP and offer a “letter mailing service”.

Dear Sir or Madam

I write to register my increasing concern with you over the events that have been taking place in Scotland over the issue of airgun licencing. Despite crime involving airguns being statistically insignificant the Scottish government are transfixed on forcing unnecessary and ill thought out restrictions against strong opposition, including a petition signed by over fourteen thousand.

My concerns are that regardless of the eventual outcome for Scottish airgunners, the proposals alone by the Scottish government will incite equally unfounded calls for similar measures to be applied in England and Wales. Airgun owners, as with legal firearms owners are overwhelmingly safe, responsible and law abiding people who just wish to pursue their hobbies or sport without needless bureaucracy and expense, which inevitably has a disproportionate impact on newcomers to the sport and those on a lower income.

I would ask that you do what you can to ensure your law abiding constituents don’t have to face similar discriminatory encroachments. Existing legislation is more than adequate to cater for any incidents of airgun misuse, as such I hope you agree that such proposals are not necessary and are a waste of resources, which can be better spent on genuine threats to public safety.

Yours sincerely,

Please keep signing and sharing our petitions.

It’s been an exciting 6 months. When I first started the airgun petition I never imagined it becoming as popular as it did, this is down to a lot of hard work and support from many shooting organisations,magazines and the shooters that do bother to take action.

The shooting community has always been it’s own worst enemy when it comes to taking action to defend itself. Whilst 14,000 is a great number to achieve it is a miniscule amount of what it should be when one looks at the millions(yes millions) of people in the UK with an interest in firearms. Division is rife and many people do not bother if it does not affect their own particular section of the sport and in some cases even if it does! This apathy will destroy our rights.

The Scottish petition has been sent in with 14,193 petitions however when I attend the meeting with the Public Petitions Committee it would put us in an excellent position if the number of signatures has grown even more since then. If nothing else it will send a strong message to the Scottish Government and perhaps even the UK Government that shooters are not going to take it any more and we will fight back.

Having been featured in a recent article in the Sunday Express and with an upcoming feature in the Shooting Times our petition may get a second wind and achieve the even greater numbers we sorely need.  With such publicity and popularity it puts us in a very good position to continue educating the public on the positives of gun ownership and shooting sports.

If we want to move on to greater things and win our rights back we must continue to support each other and keep up good communications. We must end the divide between us all. The anti gunners do not care what your reasons for owning a firearm are, they do not care about facts or logic they want rid of  them all and we are helping them by failing to unite or remaining in a state of listlessness.

As we continue to move forward and the Firearms UK following grows we will need everyone to stand with us and let their voices be heard. We need everyone to do their bit in helping our campaigns. Please continue to share our petitions and pages with family and friends. I realise that I may be preaching to the converted when people are reading this but we must continue to gather our friends on board and get those people on the fence or sitting with their heads down standing tall and on our side.

We are law abiding citizens and it is time to say we will not accept punishment or criminalization for the minority of people who do abuse airguns and firearms.

Sometimes you’ve got to fight for your rights.

Controlled Britain

A meme created and published by Firearms UK on the restrictions faced by lawful airgunners

Our response to the Aberdeen Sports Village incident

An incident in Aberdeen has recently caught the attention of the police and the press, where children belonging to a traveler site where alleged to have fired BB guns towards the players during a match at the Aberdeen Sports Village.

Supporters of the Scottish Governments proposals to license all forms of air powered guns, against the guidance of sporting organizations such as SACS, SARPA and BASC, will be quick to use the incident, and as much media bias and misinformation on the story as they can to further their own ideas towards restricting the lawful use and ownership of airguns. We as part of the Firearms UK effort in support of firearms owners, and lawful sportsmen and women would like to offer our own view on the incident.

Firstly the reports of the incident seem to hover between the terms BB and airgun. BB and airguns are not the same thing, and it is inaccurate to use such terms interchangeably. Low powered airguns which don’t require a firearms license are comparatively more powerful than BB guns, consequently airguns and BB guns are handled differently by legislation. Airguns are largely used in target shooting, competitive target shooting and pest control and rely on this increased power (up to 16.25 joules before a license is required) to ensure humane kills of pest species and to hit targets at longer range. BB guns in contrast have an industry set maximum rating of 1.5 joules for full auto and 2.5 joules for single fire BB guns.

Secondly, airguns if indeed they were used in this incident are already covered by various laws, a few of which we will outline bellow. It is an offense under The Crime and Security Act 2010 for a person in possession of an airgun to fail to take “reasonable precautions” to prevent someone under the age of 18 gaining unauthorized access. It is also against the law for anyone bellow 14 years of age to be in possession of an airgun without supervision. Bellow the age of 14 the child needs to be supervised by someone over the age of 21, and if for example the child discharges a pellet across the boundary of land where they have permission to operate the airgun, which is also an offence, both the child and the supervising adult are committing an offense.

BB guns are also covered extensively by existing legislation. For example, to even own a BB gun which is considered realistic you have to be a member of an insured skirmish site, which are used for the sport of Airsoft. Unlike airguns it is lawful for under 18’s to be in possession of a BB gun, but only on the confides of private land.

Even without such specific laws against the misuse of airguns and BB guns, deliberately using either to cause harm or distress to a member of the public would be covered by common law.

Further emotionally motivated restrictions aimed at lawful people are not the answer to the problems of misuse, instead we should be looking towards education both in fostering responsible attitudes and specifically in making people aware of the current law as it relates to all firearms, and how they should be operated safely.

Arguably most of all what is needed to reduce the number of these incidents is parental responsibility, and enforcement of existing legislation.

A Comment from Firearms UK

On the 4th April A reporter contacted us via our No to Airgun Licensing in England & Wales campaign Facebook page in relation to an article she was producing for that weeks Sunday paper. She kindly supplied us with some information gleamed from freedom of information requests asked us for our comment regarding this and posed the following questions.

  1. A 9 year old was found in possession of a BB gun. How can this happen?
  2. Can our forces protect us?

Those of the team who were available discussed this at length and finally settled on the following reply which was submitted in time, but was not used in the finished article. Our response has also been posted on the Firearms UK Facebook page, where we encourage you to continue the discussion.

The majority of incidents involving airguns are the result of an unlawful minority who would seek ways around any legislation. Further restrictions such as licencing on low powered airguns are unnecessary and will disproportionately impact lawful owners.

The use, purchase and possession of airguns, BB guns and replicas have undergone significant legislative restrictions in recent years most notably in the 2006 Violent Crime Reduction (VCR) Act, which was further strengthened in 2007 by the Realistic Imitation Firearms Regulations. Unfortunately this legislative solution to addressing public concerns over the use of such items has only increased the complexity of the legislation and consequently has made it even easier for everyday people to fall foul of the law, with potentially severe consequences. Alongside, or alternatively to legislative changes tackling incidents involving airguns, BB guns and replicas we would encourage the adoption of education and public awareness schemes to make sure everyone who may purchase, use or sell such items are aware of their responsibilities and how any changes in legislation will impact them, we believe this will have a greater impact on reducing associated crime than further legislation.

Regarding young people and BB guns, under the VCR Act it is not an offense for someone such as a parent to give a BB gun to someone under the age of 18 as a gift or for an under 18 to borrow one and use it on private land for example in casual target shooting. Since 2007 to purchase and own a realistic BB gun you need to be a member of an insured skirmish site and own it for the purposes of “airsoft skirmishing”, BB guns sold to non-members have to be differentiated from realistic models which is typically done by them being sold in bright colours so they stand out as non-realistic. Offences of this nature can occur by parents not fully understanding the law, regarding their child having to keep their BB gun in their garden for example. Education at point of sale would be one way to reduce such incidents without impacting the many lawful owners. It is also noteworthy that BB guns most likely to fall into the hands of under 18’s will be of significantly reduced power compared to the more professional quality imitations that are used in the sport of airsoft, of which even these models are limited in power and only pose a risk to the eye area which is protected by compulsory PPE during skirmishes. The maximum industry-set limit for BB guns is 1.3 joules for full auto and 2.5 joules for single fire weapons (http://www.justbbguns.co.uk/), in contrast the maximum legal limit for air rifles before a firearms certificate, FAC is required is set at 16.25 joules, although the recommended limit for low powered air rifles is 15 joules (http://www.basc.org.uk/en/shooting/airgunning/air-rifles.cfm).

Firearms UK is an online campaign aiming to protect gun ownership for law abiding citizens in the UK and to encourage unity and positive action within the shooting community.

Supporting Letter to Gun Shops

Today we have begun e-mailing stockists of airguns asking them to support us and sign the No to Airgun Licensing in England & Wales petition. To take this further we have drafted an example letter which we have made available as a download, and we ask that you e-mail or post this or something similar to your local gun shops and airgun stockists. We would like as many people as possible to get involved on the Facebook page and sign the petition, through this we will be in the best position to halt another potential onslaught to our rights.

Support Request Letter to Gun Shops Word Document.

Once you confirm with us that a gun shop or other airgun stockist has stood with us and signed the campaign petition, as a thank you we will provide a link to their website and recommend them on our Appreciated… Gun Shops page, which is accessible on the left hand navigation menu.