If you follow the goings on in the world of legal UK shooting I’m sure you have noticed quite a stir from my own country of residence Northern Ireland. The licensing dept there dropped quite a bombshell just before Christmas that magazines are now to be put on license, they then walked away from the matter leaving the entire swathe of legal Northern Ireland gun owners and retailers scratching their heads.

For many years now if you were granted permission to have a firearm on your FAC that uses a magazine it was then just a matter of showing your legal right to purchase a magazine for that firearm (the piece of paper from the chief constable called an FAC) to your RFD and they could then sell you the magazine.

As stated in NI law a face to face is required for any ammunition, firearm or component part.

What has happened since this announcement warms my heart as I’ve been shouting till I’m blue in the face for people to do it for years, shooters said “no”, stood up and have been emailing, calling and speaking to NI politicians en masse as well as emailing licensing and the Chief Constable. We have MLAs openly commenting on how ridiculous it is and this too is quite rightly so.

This in turn has applied significant pressure on those wishing to tax the shooter with an apparent mandatory £30 variation fee for someone wanting to buy a magazine they are already entitled to own.

Shooting is expensive enough as it is, as is applying for an FAC, getting a safe and paying for variations when you literally have no choice in the matter or a way to complain about service.

Worrying still is the fact PSNI licensing now want to know the capacity of the magazine you wish to purchase as well as what reason you want for having it.

Does this ring any alarm bells for legal shooters in the UK?

It certainly does for me.

Shooters are tired of being treated like criminals for merely wanting to own and operate a tool at every turn and this announcement came across as a bit of a slap in the face to the entire community.

My own group the Owner Rights Cooperative has been in various calls/conferences and pulling a lot of stings and it’s marvellous that we can see a genuine grass roots effort of shooters themselves actively getting involved and fighting to protect not only their sport but their way of life and right to own firearms at all.

It really isn’t about if you agree with everyone else as a shooter or not, it’s not about personalities or cliques, it’s about shooters getting off their seats and no longer relying on others to do their fighting for them.

And for that we finally see some resemblance of unity, we finally see that to speak up gets results, we finally have momentum.

Shooting needs a win, we haven’t had one in years. And we are close enough now to smell it, and if it’s a case of no negotiation then I pray shooters keep up the pressure.

The shooters on the mainland should definitely sit up and take note.


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