Opinion Former Article

BASC condemns WHSmith shooting magazine ban for children

The UK's largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), has condemned the decision by WHSmith to stop under 14-year-olds from buying shooting magazines.

The company says it has taken this decision in the erroneous belief that 14 is the legal age for "obtaining" a firearm. In fact, there are many age limits in firearms legislation and 14 is not one of them.

Those under 14-years-old can shoot if supervised by an adult. This occurs across the country with parents and guardians, in shooting clubs, the Cadet corps and the Scout movement.

BASC has asked WHSmith to withdraw the policy and is awaiting a response. Should WHSmith refuse, BASC will campaign against the policy.

BASC's director of communications, Christopher Graffius, said: "It is extraordinary that in WHSmith you can buy a car magazine at any age despite the age limit of 17 for driving. You can also buy numerous war magazines which depict the killing of people yet WHSmith is concerned about children buying shooting magazines, a legal and an Olympic sport.

"It is ironic that at the recent three party conferences, front bench spokesmen and Government ministers from all major parties sang the praises of shooting sports for the sense of responsibility and discipline that they encourage in the children who take them up; yet WHSmith is trying to keep the magazines that encourage that approach out of children's hands. They are also causing enormous offence to adult shooters who are stopped at auto-scan tills."

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