On 12 May 2004 the UK government's
Home Office issued a "consultation paper" suggesting draconian
changes to the laws affecting the purchase, ownership, licensing and
use of the types of shotguns and ammunition used for sporting
purposes by the nation's wildfowlers.
Wildfowlers are amongst the most law
abiding section of British society yet they are again under attack
by an ignorant government that simply will not learn the lesson that
placing unnecessary restrictions upon the legal use of sporting
weapons does not make any impact on the incidence of armed crime.
The politicians should have learned
the lesson. Since handguns were banned in the Britain, the number of
armed crimes involving handguns has increased from 2,687 per annum
(1998-99) to 5,549 per annum (2002-03). Britain already has a much
lower incidence of firearm homicides than almost every other country
in the World - 0.12 per 100,000 population compared to 3.6 in USA,
2.25 in Lithuania, 0.84 in Portugal, O.54 in Canada, 0.47 in
Germany, 0.31 in Australia, etc. These statistics are reproduced in
the Home Office paper but totally ignored in the proposals for even
more stupid and draconian restrictions upon law-abiding gun owners.
The most worrying suggestions in the
paper are that shotguns and shotgun ammunition might be subject to
the same licensing requirements as rifles and rifle ammunition. This
would give even greater powers to the Police and could mean that a
"good reason" would have to be given for each shotgun owned, that a
shotgun could only be used for the purpose for which it was licensed
(e.g. a gun licensed for shooting clays could not be used for
wildfowling) and a shotgun could only be used on land specified on
The full Consultation Paper can be
Every wildfowler in Britain should
ensure that he personally responds to the Paper and that his
wildfowling club also responds. The closing date for comments is
31st August 2004.
A copy of Eric Begbie's personal
response can be read here. Please feel
free to use ideas from this response but do not copy it verbatim.
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