NAReS Update

Dear Members

For many months now I have been in discussions with the Police and the Home Office Firearms Policy Unit. The discussions have centred around the use of firearms in re-enactment scenarios, together with how such use is viewed by legislative authorities. As you will be aware current legislation is somewhat vague in certain areas when it comes to licensing pre-19th Century weaponry. This has caused misunderstandings between Police and re-enactors in the past.

The ownership, and licensing of firearms, has gained immense scrutiny following the multiple shootings in Plymouth. It was apparent, during the subsequent investigations, along with the report submitted by HM Coroner, that there was no nationally accredited training programme for Police Firearms Enquiry Officers (FEOs). Whilst it was not a re-enactment weapon that was used re-enactment firearms are currently subject to the same licensing regime, and scrutiny, by FEOs. I was very concerned that any new legislation, or guidance, that resulted from this event would adversely affect re-enactors and have a knock-on effect on membership due to further unnecessary, restrictions. I am pleased to say that both the Police and the Home Office have agreed to maintain a dialogue concerning the issues faced by re-enactors.

In the meantime the College of Policing has been tasked to write a training package to be used by every force Firearms Licensing department in the UK as part of accredited training for current, and future FEOs. The training will include a set of professionally produced videos describing the use of firearms by various shooting groups. I was invited to take part on behalf of NAReS.

I spent two days at the College in Coventry talking to senior police officers about re-enactment. I then took part in creating a video concerning pre-19C weapons used in re-enactment, and issues faced by re-enactors. It is hoped that this will improve the future understanding of re-enactment by present, and future, FEOs. This video will now form part of their training and will inevitably raise the profile, not only of NAReS, but of re-enactment in general.

My work is by no means finished as the Home Office intends to update the current guidance to Police concerning possession and licensing of firearms. NAReS has been asked to take part in this process and I will update the membership as, and when, I know more.

With the increase in the numbers of re-enactment societies, it is, more than ever, important that we maintain a working relationship at the highest level to protect our hobby and I would encourage member groups to pass the word that those who have legislative responsibilities are keen to maintain a dialogue with NAReS, and are becoming more aware of what we are about. With that in mind I am looking to find someone willing to help me in representing the more modern re-enactment groups, as there is only so much I can do on my own.

Your servant

Martin Abbott

Executive Committee Member

NAReS (Firearms and Explosives)