I WAS heartened to read that several parents’ organisations have spoken out against the British Association of Shooting and Conservation’s (BASC) plan to teach children and teenagers how to use guns (The Argus, June 27).

Apart from the risks of encouraging young people to have an interest in guns, we need to ask ourselves if we really want to educate another generation into joining the fieldsports lobby – seemingly the main aim of the BASC.

Although it uses the word “conservation” in its title, we must never forget it releases hundreds of thousands of non-native pheasants into our environment every year and, when rearing these birds, it traps, snares and poisons the native wildlife which might hunt these young pheasants.

Our Government recently carried out a U-turn on the proposal to kill or displace native buzzards to protect shooting estates after an outcry from protection groups.

On grouse moors, landowners are burning heather and peatland – rich ecosystems and habitats for many native species – to encourage new growth which grouse like to feed on.

We should be mindful of the use of the word “conservation” in this sense.

Sue Baumgardt, Stoneham Road, Hove

THE Home Office’s advice to police on firearms law recommends it is in the interests of safety that a young person who is to handle firearms should be properly taught at a relatively early age.

In his evidence to the Home Affairs Committee, assistant chief constable Adrian Whiting, who was the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) lead on firearms licensing, said: “The evidence in relation to young people shooting does not give any cause for concern.”

One of the aims of Young Shots days, run by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), is to make sure young people who want to use guns are taught to use them safely and correctly.

BASC is the UK’s largest shooting organisation.

It is important young people have a chance to get outdoors.

These events provide them with opportunities to find out about the countryside around them and try out a number of activities for themselves.

I hope this puts people’s minds at ease. If they would like to try shooting for themselves, they can visit www.basc.org.uk for more information.

Dan Reynolds, South East regional director, BASC