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Wildfowlers Under Attack
Home Office Consultation Paper a huge threat

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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 licence.

The full Consultation Paper can be read on:


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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