Gun owners: submit your views

23 August 2023

Cocked shotgun, under arm

Following the shootings in the Keyham area of Plymouth in August 2021, the Home Office is looking to strengthen existing firearms regulation in what some say is the most significant firearms licensing consultation in 35 years. 

The proposals are intended to improve the safety and wellbeing of certified firearms users, while keeping the additional administrative burden to a minimum.

Farming is a responsible industry that accounts for a significant degree of legitimate firearm ownership and use in the UK, for instance, as a method of pest control.

NFU position

NFU Chief Land Management Adviser Sam Durham said “The sector is well-versed in handling and securing shotguns safely and effectively, and happily co-operates with police firearms officers, observing the conditions of licences with diligence.”

He added that the NFU accepts the protection of public safety is the key principle behind the firearms licensing regime.

The NFU welcomes the ministerial statement at 1.2 and their awareness of the legitimate use of shotguns for pest management for our farming members.

“Public safety is our priority, but the measures to manage the risk to public safety must be proportionate and balanced with the fact that the vast majority of licensed firearms holders are law abiding and cause no concern (…) Shotguns are already subject to significant controls on their use and they are important in helping farmers control vermin on their land and in rural pursuits. We will keep this under review, but we are concerned that additional controls on shotguns are unnecessary and would have a negative impact on their legitimate use."

Visit Firearms licensing: a consultation on recommendations for changes made to the Home Office – GOV.UK

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  • Home Office consultation opens 29 June 2023
  • NFU call member input – deadline 16 August 2023
  • Government consultation closes 23 August 2023