Few of those in our field could have failed to notice the Post Officeâ€™s recent consultation on the carriage of firearms, which threatened to put a major barrier in the way of shooters across the UK. (In fact, perhaps the only good thing you could say about the consultation was that it made the recent rise in stamp prices look positively benign.) BASC, however, has been working hard to fight the proposals and ensure that the needs of the shooting community can be met.
Royal Mailâ€™s consultation, which ended on the 17th September, outlined its proposals to ban the carriage of firearms and their component parts. If enacted, these would mean that people would be prohibited from posting not only firearms, but also components, accessories and airguns, some of which are not even subject to firearms law. Registered Firearms Dealers (RFDs) would still be able to use Parcelforce to transport these items, but only if they were being sent to another RFD.
Royal Mail argues that these proposals are necessary because they currently fall foul of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 by not being able to guarantee the safe custody of firearms. They state that complying with this legislation would require a dedicated handling system, and that their current process is ill-equipped to identify and report any losses.
BASC contends, however, that the Royal Mailâ€™s current operation sufficiently meets the intent of the legislation and that their new proposals have no legal or evidential basis. Furthermore, despite the significant impact that their changes would have, Royal Mail has not suggested a viable solution which would enable firearms to be posted in a cost-effective manner. To see BASCâ€™s full response, click here
As well as meeting with Royal Mail to outline their arguments, BASC has also met with Ofcom, the independent communications regulator that has the power to overturn Royal Mailâ€™s proposals should they go ahead. Furthermore, BASC asked individuals to send in responses to the consultation and thus far more than 1,150 have been recorded, with many more yet to be published. More than 3,200 people also signed a petition, and the huge variety of their reasons for doing so makes it clear how detrimental these changes could be. Responders range from overseas consumers who would be prohibited from buying high quality British-manufactured goods, to UK residents who would be unable to have their firearms serviced. To see all the responses,Â click here.
Although the consultation is now closed, BASC continues to highlight the importance of the issue and to ask that the state-owned Royal Mail provide a service that adequately caters for the needs of a large segment of the population. BASCâ€™s website will be updated as the situation progresses, but if you are availing yourself of the postal service in meantime, you can always cheer yourself up with some of these: http://shop.royalmail.com/team-gb-gold-medal-winner-miniature-sheets/team-gb-gold-medal-winner-miniature-sheet-peter-wilson/invt/sku00201204/