Both the British Sports Shooting Council and the Gun Trade Association have engaged with government departments in a co-ordinated attempt to remove the requirement to put moderators on firearms certificates.
Both organisations argue that the law as it stands needs reforming. Moderators are currently treated as firearms themselves under the law, a historical hangover from the use of silencers in espionage and assassination. Today’s moderators are seen as an essential piece of health and safety kit.
Initial approaches to government and police have met with encouraging responses. Chris Philp, the policing minister, has stated: “There is a strong and growing case for legislating to remove them from current firearms licensing controls.”
Graham Downing, head of the BSSC, told us: “It is encouraging that the minister has recognised the strong and growing case for deregulating sound moderators. Almost everyone who hunts with a rifle now uses moderators. They represent no threat to public safety and licensing them involves the police in much unnecessary work. Removing them from licensing control would ease the burden on the shooting community and free up police time for the much more important matter of licensing firearms and shotguns. BSSC will be urging Home Office officials to take this initiative forward at the first legislative opportunity.”
Simon West of the Gun Trade Association writes for us about the campaign in his exclusive column on page 40.
Although the early signs are encouraging, both West and Downing acknowledge that this may be a slow change to implement, and that it is likely to have to wait until some other firearms legislation is brought before Parliament.