French tabacs to sell ammunition for hunting

‘It seems so insane that it’s unbelievable’

Hunting ammunition could be sold in tabacs under new proposals
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Hunting ammunition, including shotgun shells and smoothbore cartridges, will be available for purchase in some tabacs from next year. We look at how this will work and how people have reacted to the measure.

Category C ammunition, which at present is only sold by specialist armourers, will soon join cigarettes and scratch cards behind the counter of many tabacs in France, according to a change in the rules announced on November 25 by the Interior Ministry.

From January 1, 2024, tabacs that wish to sell category C ammunition will have to complete two days of training validated by the Professional federation for careers in weapons and munitions, FEPAM (Fédération Professionnelle des Métiers de l’Arme et de la Munition).

“This training will ensure that the munitions are kept securely and that only people with valid permits can purchase Category C ammunition,” announced the Interior Ministry.

Category C munitions include shotgun shells, smoothbore cartridges and carbine ammunition. It does not include armour piercing or explosive rounds or 20mm calibre rounds for rifled barrels.

The law already requires that Category C ammunition be stored securely, and not in the same place as their respective firearms.

On completion of the two days’ training, applicants will have to pass an exam.

In addition, tabacs that wish to participate will have to be approved by both the mayor of their commune and the departmental prefect who, the Interior Ministry states, will take the individual’s “competence and trustworthiness” into account.

Read more: 14 things you can do at a tabac in France apart from buy cigarettes

“The change in law will help prevent people from stockpiling munitions, from having them delivered (which is legal), and from driving a long way to acquire them,” said the Interior Ministry.

“The reliance on mail order deliveries has frequently caused problems in the past.”

How have people reacted to the change?

Anti-hunting groups have reacted with dismay.

“It seems so insane that it’s unbelievable” said Animal rights group L214 éthique & animaux on X (formerly Twitter). “The hunting lobby really has no shame.”

Similarly, the National centre against the use of tobacco (CNCT) questioned how sensible the measure was since “two out of three tabacs continue to sell tobacco products to under aged people.”

The reception from hunters has so far been muted. Most are already well aware where they can buy ammunition on presentation of their licence, either in person or online.

One hunter told The Connexion that the use of tabacs to sell munitions is of limited use.

“I can see it might be good for people who live in very isolated areas a long way from an armourer,” said Jean-Claude Legrand, a hunter in the Gard.

“But you don’t need to buy ammunition regularly. Most people just buy once for the hunting season and it doesn’t seem very coherent to sell it in a tabac - it’s like going to a pharmacy to get tobacco.”

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