Gun Trade News is back with part two as we take time to reflect on another year of newsworthy industry events and headline news from 2019
6 September – The existence of Operation Yellowhammer was leaked, revealing some of the UK’s no-deal preparations
23 September – The UK Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the September prorogation of Parliament was unlawful and therefore void
23 September – Travel firm, Thomas Cook, went bankrupt despite last-minute rescue negotiations
Shooters were once again forced to rally together to fight off external pressure – this time on the British Shooting Show, whose host venue, the NEC, opted to exclude overseas hunting operators from the show. The ban on safari hunting companies came as yet another blow to the public profile of field sports.
As the ‘BSS Battles Against Ban,’ other aspects of the industry were working hard to secure their future. The GTA’s Ben Tolhurst put airgun safety in the spotlight with the launch of the Airgun Sports Trust.
This issue of GTN also reported on the UK launch of an American fashion brand, McKenna Quinn. Luckily we were on hand to find out more.
Colin Fallon was busy too, joining the new CEO of the Blaser Group in the UK, Frederic Hanner. The incoming boss set out his vision for the future of the brands, including Blaser, Sauer, Minox and Mauser.
1 October – Voting for 14 categories of the Great British Shooting Awards 2020 opened to the shooting public.
9 October – Liverpool City Council terminated the contact between the British Shooting Show and the Liverpool Exhibition Centre, labelling shooters as ‘barbaric’
23 October – 39 migrants were found dead in a lorry container in Greys, Essex
28 October – The EU granted another Brexit extension, pushing the deadline to 31 January
The industry received rare support in October as the government rebuffed attempts to have grouse shooting restricted, licensed or banned. However this was severely undermined as the “misinformed” Liverpool City Council pulled the new British Shooting Show, enraging shooters and calling BASC into swift action. We are still waiting on the outcome of their rebuttal.
There could be further impacts on our sport from abroad, as the EU is considering a total ban on lead shot across all its member states. In‘EU To Eject Lead’, GTN explored how the UK could feel the effects of legislation – whatever happens with Brexit.
Further afield, New Zealand clothing brand Swazi marked their 25th anniversary; Davey Hughes reflected on the last quarter-century. And GTN investigated the growth of online retail in the past decade; Military 1st marketing manager Lukas Duszynski talked us through e-trading.
It really has been a year dominated by licensing. In November we reported on the ‘GLs: Another Debacle’as Wales moved to restrict its GLs with little notice to those who will be affected. We also built up to the second Brexit deadline and reviewed medical fees for shooters.
Amid the red tape and paperwork, we were able to catch up with Anglo Italian Arms and witness the virtues of a company that gets the basics right. In our other interview, Gary Cox met James Marchington to show off Bisley Shooting Wholesale’s latest products, including Castellani.
As the year came to a close, we also highlighted the ‘Best of British’, with a range of UK businesses who pride themselves on national heritage. In addition, we stepped up promotion of the 2020 Great British Shooting Awards.
With voting open, we announced the definitive shortlists in 14 categories. You can cast your votes until 31 December at greatbritishshootingawards.com.
What headlines are going to be made as 2019 draws to a close? As predicted, Brexit dominated the headlines throughout the year – but there was little progress and it remains to be seen what, if any, resolutions are made between the UK and EU.
What else can we expect? Will the UK be united with new, workable licences or will anti-shooting groups continue to bombard the industry with legal action and judicial reviews? Will the rise of indoor trade exhibitions continue to overtake more traditional outdoor shows?
We will be ready to find out as we catch up with the trade at the British Shooting Show, Northern Shooting Show, IWA, Game Fair and more. We’ll have regular interviews, features and market opportunities for traders, as well as the latest industry news throughout 2020.
Finally, our appreciation goes out to everyone who has supported, sponsored, subscribed, advertised and contributed to Gun Trade News in 2019. Thank you all!