Rural Affairs committee urged to review Home Office airgun proposals

The proposal , if passed, would not only remove a great opportunity for young people to learn respec

The proposal , if passed, would not only remove a great opportunity for young people to learn respect for the countryside but prevent them from providing vital pest control on farm businesses. Credit: Cervus UK - Credit: Archant

“The period for consulting may have ended, but our campaign to ensure young airgun users are not unfairly disadvantaged has not.”

Shooting and farming organisations have joined forces to urge the Government’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) committee to review the Home Office’s proposal to restrict airgun use by teenagers.

In a letter sent last week the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) have asked the chair of the EFRA committee, Neil Parish MP, to use his power to review and scrutinise the proposal.

The organisations raise the lack of evidence provided to justify the restriction and the undervalued impact the proposal will have on young people in the farming and land management sectors.

Bill Harriman, BASC’s director of firearms, said: “The period for consulting may have ended, but our campaign to ensure young airgun users are not unfairly disadvantaged has not. The government need to look at this proposal again and we hope with the assistance of the EFRA committee inroads can be made.

“Our ask is for the EFRA committee to use their powers to ensure the proposal is fully scrutinised to ensure airgun users are not left disadvantaged.”

Tom Pope, Agriculture and Rural Issues chair at the NFYFC, said: “I believe that removing this exception would have a hugely negative effect on many of our younger members. It would not only remove a great opportunity for young people to learn respect for the countryside but prevent them from providing vital pest control on farm businesses.”

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The letter follows the announcement from Kit Malthouse MP that over 12,000 people responded to the firearms safety consultation and that the Government will ‘publish its response to the consultation in due course’.

BASC launched a campaign in January to lobby against this proposal