Shooting News on General Licence by Arnold Chapkis

The following it taken for the new Shooting News – newsletter email

by Arnold Chapkis January 2015


The text of the 2015 English General Licence implies that a semi-automatic shotgun with a magazine capacity of 2 cartridges or less, is prohibited. Few understand or are aware of the trap that has been set.

Natural England has followed DEFRA in administering the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981. The recent ‘public consultation’ proposals lifted a veil revealing the depth of RSPB, RSCPA, LACS, and the WWT lobby penetration into Government law making machinery.

It revealed a malignant bias against shooting and has resulted in an English General Licence designed to entrap, mislead, containing unacceptable mistakes, and conflicts. It attempts to rewrite the law without due process. It has brought the Law into disrespect.

It has demonstrated the complicity of Government officials in allowing the RSPB, RSCPA, LACS, and the WWT to write and re-write the law without public scrutiny.

The 1981 Act is riddled with amendments all stemming from the anti-shooting lobbying. Their intervention and manipulation of UK law making is costing the taxpayer many hundreds of millions per year, to manage the consequential executive burden, it is a public scandal. It is persecution of the shooting public. It is the invisible hand of zealots at work.

They enter by the back door afforded by the EU Commission to re-jig the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981. You can see the footprint of all of this by visiting the Act on the Government’s website.

The board of directors of Natural England have failed in their duty to protect the Shooting Public against frivolous intervention from extremists. It issued a biased and incompetent 2015 General Licence consultation document.

The BASC had been paid to deal with this matter over the years but to little effect. For the last 10 years, the Licence had been ‘null and void’ having been based on the wrong sub-section of the 1981 Act. This was acknowledged and corrected by Natural England in recent weeks.  The fault was flagged by a member of the shooting public, not the BASC who had acted as the chief negotiator with Natural over the years. Natural England now refers to the current published 2015 General Licence as a ‘draft’. So that’s alright?

To be fair, the Countryside Alliance had an equally poor record on shooting until the last few years. However, it was they who managed to kill the ludicrous ‘shoo before you shoot’ proposal leaving the BASC bobbing in their wake.

You now need a deep pocket to fund the legions of QC’s required to interrogate, interpret, and decipher Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 for it is a completely mangled document that Natural England itself has difficulty in understanding.

It is an outrageous abuse of the public’s right to be governed in a transparent fair and competent manner.

The act has been subject to an accretion of amendments and multi-layered complexity authored on a yearly basis by the RSPB, RSCPA, LACS, and the WWT. Their malign objective to shackle and entrap shooting by subverting the law has been successful.

They have successfully usurped democratic law making. Bent government departments to their will, and written and rewritten the Wildlife Act at will, and at great cost to the taxpayer. They have harnessed a welcoming and willing EU Commission to their agenda, and forced through EU ‘directives’ to be gold plated by English Government bureaucrats.

The current General Licence is now almost meaningless, designed (as it is) to eliminate shooting, to mislead and entrap, rather than, elucidate and inform. It is now no longer possible to draft the English General Licence without conflict with the underlying 1981 Act. The Act is now so convoluted and deformed, that even the Green Blob shudders at the thought of engaging in litigation, for fear of bankrupting their respective organisations. They have won, and persecuted the English Shooting Culture into submission.

When the 1981 Wildlife & Countryside Act was passed, there was no need for a General Licence. Section 2 of the Act took care of the matter. It scheduled the species that applied and amended the schedule according to need. The Green Blob did not like that. They lobbied the EU Commission to issue a ‘Wildlife’ directive. The ‘directive was optional. However, craven Labour Government officials chose to gold plated the ‘directive’ at the urging of the Green Blob and rendered Section 2 redundant by deleting the schedule of species. They said that there was already the same schedule in Section 4 of the Act. In order to use Section 4 each individual shooter has to ‘apply’ separately to gain use of the Licence, for each individual species scheduled in the Section. This of course caused uproar and the Green Blob generously allowed a General Licence to be created. How they did smirk at the cost and disruption that they had caused, and still cause.

Let us hope that the Law Commission review of the 1981 Wildlife & Countryside Act ensures that a new clear, honest piece of legislation, replaces it. Most of all the Law Commission must ensure that the RSPB, RSCPA, LACS, WWT cartel, are deprived of the undue influence that has allowed them to write the Law by default.

A bit of gossip: Alasdair Mitchell has a regular column in the BASC weekly journal, the Shooting Times. He wrote just after the Lead Ammunition Group was set up, that he did not mind in the slightest if Lead ammunition was banned. He was just not bothered. Not many will remember that – well not many read him.

In the 21st Jan 2015 edition of the Shooting Times he  writes to bring to his reader’s attention that George Mobiout links Lead in petrol to violent behaviour. This is all pretty old hat and the ‘studies’ preaching this come form the usual suspects, along with the usual propaganda halo.

But note the timing; we are waiting on the Lead Ammunition Report now 4 years late, (it has taken as long as the Chilcot Enquiry). John Swift has been doing the rounds briefing against Lead ammunition. The BASC Council fails to put their names to a statement demanding a factual defence of Lead Ammunition. We face the risk of an anti-Lead, anti-shooting Labour Government. What happens? Our favourite hack gets out his anti-Lead dog whistle again, and gives it a good blow. Then remember, his day job title is Northern Region Director for BASC.

Bottom line – issues 2015.


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