So what might happen to shooters after the UK leaves the European community, here are some thoughts.
First I’ll say I’m glad we are leaving Europe, but very sad it has come to this as I have made a lot of hunting and shooting friends in a lot of countries and still believe in the principles of the common market that I voted YES to in 1975. But I fail to see as an Englishman why bureaucrats in Brussels should be making laws on sporting firearms that affect my island; we have enough tyrants where I live doing that already! As a hunter I always take my guns abroad; why wouldn’t I? After all, that’s what I bought them for? And getting into Europe with firearms has never been that much hassle, in fact, I get more grief from UK customs. In over 15-years of travel abroad I have only had to show my EFP (European Firearms Pass) three times and that was more a cursory inspection and a friendly on your way.
A new approach
It will be probably 2-years before we finally exit and in that time nothing will change, but I wonder of the future. Technically British shooters will be foreign nationals bringing firearms and ammunition into the Union. So firstly I assume my EFP will be redundant? In the UK foreign hunters coming over have to get their sponsor to apply for a temporary firearms permit for their guns. This can be a slow process and I would imagine something similar might/would be implemented in Europe. It would also seem likely that we would have to bring across paperwork from the people we would be hunting with to prove that we are there for bona fide reasons.
Another worry is hunting licenses, which I have often been asked for by European hunt organisers. As such we don’t have them, just our Firearms Certificates, which is only a record of what we own and can use in the UK. Given the sour grapes attitude I have seen from the European Parliament and some member countries that seems to want to punish us for our decision, I can foresee more hoops to jump through; we shall have to wait and see!