Disproportionate EU proposals for computerised firearms registers could destroy jobs and harm rural economy, says BASC

The UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), has warned of the potentially damaging unintended consequences of EU proposals to require gun shops to link their firearms registers to central computerised systems.

Gun shops and other Registered Firearms Dealers (RFDs) already have a statutory obligation to register firearms transactions, but the proposals contained in the proposed EU Firearms Directive may go much further, requiring gun shops of all sizes to install their own potentially highly expensive computer systems which were able to ‘talk’ to a central computer.

The Commission proposals contain no impact assessment examining the effect of the proposals on shops of all sizes and on the rural economy.

BASC is concerned that the proposals as written would deliver little benefit to public safety and are therefore disproportionate.  The costs of introducing approved computer systems could be cost-prohibitive for many smaller gun shops, which may go out of business as a result.  Given many smaller shops are based in rural towns, the impact of the proposals on the rural economy could be highly damaging, with jobs lost and those who shoot having to travel much further to visit their nearest gun shop.

A similar proposal to require computerisation of RFDs’ statutory register of firearms transactions was rejected as “Gold Plating” by the UK and Northern Ireland governments in 2014.

Stephen Curtis, BASC director of operations, said: “BASC is concerned that this is an entirely disproportionate proposal which will negatively affect the £2.5 billion shooting sector.  The proposal delivers little obvious benefit and has not been subject to an impact assessment.  It will destroy jobs and harm the rural economy.

“BASC has today written to Ministers in both Westminster and Stormont to express its concerns.  We are also making the EU Parliament’s rapporteur for the Firearms Directive, Vicky Ford MEP, aware of the unintended consequences of the proposals.”