Northern Ireland’s largest shooting and countryside organisations have joined forces to help improve all aspects of firearms licensing, in a move that will benefit the entire shooting community.
Working together as an umbrella organisation, the Northern Ireland Firearms Representative Group (NIFRG) will campaign for a more efficient, value for money firearms licencing service. The group will also focus on greater transparency and better engagement with firearms users and their representatives.
The NIFRG will challenge any aspect of the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s (PSNI) firearms licencing policy or practices which are unfair or unreasonable.
The NIFRG aims to provide a mechanism through which the PSNI and the Department of Justice (DoJ) can effectively consult and engage with the main representative organisations and wider firearms community.
NIFRG membership includes BASC, Country Sports Ireland (CSI), Countryside Alliance Ireland (CAI), the Northern Ireland Firearms Dealers’ Association (NIFDA), the Northern Ireland Practical Shooting Confederation (NIPSC), the Scottish Association for Country Sports (SACS) and the Ulster Clay Pigeon Shooting Association (UCPSA).
Rotating amongst members the group is currently chaired by BASC with SACS providing the secretariat.
A spokesperson for the NIFRG said: “Our membership is incredibly diverse, focusing on a variety of shooting disciplines and Northern Ireland’s firearms dealer network, but we are all connected through the requirements for an efficient firearms licensing process. A unified voice and coordinated effort on issues that directly impact our members will be hugely beneficial for the entire shooting community.
“Last year the PSNI admitted that delays in the processing of applications were probably the worst they have ever been. Our collective aim is to work positively and constructively with PSNI and the DoJ, to vastly improve the efficiency of the licensing system and to ensure that it provides a value for money service, that continues to ensure the highest level of public safety.”
The NIFRG has already been successful in having the controversial PSNI policy to add firearms magazines to all certificates shelved.
The group has also been engaging with PSNI in relation to improving processing timescales for firearms applications and for the introduction of a formal complaint’s procedure.