The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) have joined forces to condemn the government’s proposals to restrict airgun use for under-18s.
Members of both organisations will be severely disadvantaged by the Home Office’s proposal within their current Firearms Safety consultation.
If enacted the proposal will see 14–17 year-olds in England and Wales will lose their ability to use airguns unsupervised on private premises. This will impact on thousands of under-18s who use airguns as part of their work. Undertaking pest control as a farmer or gamekeeper is an essential requirement and service.
Curtis Mossop, BASC’s head of pathways to shooting, said: “The government has significantly underestimated the impact this proposal will have on those who use airguns. As well as for recreation and competitive shooting, thousands of under-18s use their airguns as part of their work. Be it an apprentice gamekeeper or a farm worker undertaking pest control.”
“Airguns can only be used by 14–17 year olds with permission from the owner and on private premises. This is a more than adequate legal instrument to ensure safe and responsible shooting. This restriction will significantly impact on education and those wanting to move onto other shooting disciplines.”
NFYFC Agriculture and Rural Issues chairman Tom Pope, said: “This is an issue that will certainly affect our members, many of whom are already dealing with challenges due to the pandemic. We hope that together, BASC and NFYFC can have a positive influence on the outcome of the consultation.”