2019: continuing our year in review

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

May

1 May – The National Security Council discussed plans to use Chinese firm Huawei for the UK’s 5G network 

23 May – Botswana lifted its five-year prohibition on elephant hunting 

24 May – Theresa May announced her resignation as Tory leader, effective as of 7 June

This month we explored Steve Lovatt’s Clay Shooting Classic course at Garlands. He outlined his tricks of the trade ahead of a glorious day of competition. And Colin Fallon met Outfit International boss Valdemar Bardram. 

The GTN team were also in attendance at the Northern Shooting Show, marvelling at how this show has grown and become an essential part of the industry calendar.

One major news story being talked about at the show was the revocation of English General Licences – it would be a while longer before that got sorted.

Elsewhere in the news, there was a ‘Review Rejected’ as the Welsh government ‘wasted more than £48,000’ by deciding to ban pheasant shoots on its publicly owned land. 

June

3-5 June – Donald Trump made a state visit to the UK, and attended D-Day commemorative ceremonies

9 June – Over 1 million protestors in Hong Kong demonstrated against the Chinese extradition bill. Protests are ongoing 

10 June – The BBC announced that, from June 2020, it will stop providing free TV licences for over-75s

Licences made the headlines in June, as the BBC announced that they would end free TV coverage for over-75s. We had our own licensing battle on our hands, over General Licences.

Songbirds and land managers suffered before Defra stepped in, but the new drafts of the licences were widely condemned. GTN called it  ’A Licence To Fail’ but there were positive signs in the industry.

The emergence of products such as Eley Hawk’s new  Pro Eco wads once again showed that shooters lead the way when it comes to environmental conscience. 

As for the trade, Mat Manning spotted a trend for bullpup airguns and Gary Lamburn from Sportsman Gun Centre explained the winning formula for the wholesale market.

The Gun Trade News team also met with Ariat’s James Wilson as he explained the boot maker’s plans to get involved with the UK shooting community. 

July

23 July – Boris Johnson was chosen as the new leader of the Conservative Party and formally succeeded the outbound Theresa May the next day 

25 July – The UK experienced the hottest day on record, with a temperature of 38.7C in Cambridge

As the year went on,‘The Cost of Chaos’ began to add up. In just three months it was estimated that the lack of workable general licences were costing farmers, shooters and businesses in the gun trade to the cost of over £29 million. BASC continued to apply pressure to the government to restore workable general licences to allow the control of pest birds. 

Mat Manning gave his perspective on the pigeon problems, but we also turned our attentions to The Game Fair. After setting up in near 40-degree heat, the trade ‘enjoyed’ predictable British summer weather on Friday and Saturday.

As well as producing an exhibitor’s guide to Game Fair success, GTN spoke to James Gower for his take on the future of the event and sponsored an exclusive trade lounge at Hatfield (with the GTA).

We also met Sam MacArthur, to find out about her appointment within the GTA Council and her role with Viking Arms. 

August

1 August – Towns in Derbyshire were evacuated after parts of a dam at Toddbrook Reservoir collapse 

1 August – The government announced an extra £2.1bn of funding to prepare for a no-deal Brexit 

28 August – The prime minister asked the Queen to prorogue parliament from early September until 14 October

With general licences under new guidance with Defra, shooters were able to get back into the field. However this was not before it was announced that countryside confidence was at an all-time low, according to a Countryside Alliance survey.

John Allison was on hand to talk GTN through his plans to restore confidence to the shooting community; the launch of a Liverpool Shooting Show was, at the time, expected to be a welcome new opportunity for traders.

August: GTN found out about the products on offer at Raytrade UK

Raytrade UK had announced the acquisition of Entwistle Guns earlier in the year. GTN now followed this up with a feature exploring what the confluence of this British firm with American brand Remington and Australian distributor Raytrade means.

Elsewhere, we turned our attentions to a potential‘Birmingham Boycott?’ Shooting federations were up in arms as organisers confirmed the sport’s exclusion from the Commonwealth Games in 2022. Prominent nations, including India, considered pulling out of the event. 

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