Back in August The Drum revealed that animal rights activists were calling for country life magazines such as Shooting Times and The Field to be relegated to the top shelf of magazine racks, sparking comparisons in the 'graphic' content to that of pornography.
And it would appear their cries have been heard by Britain’s largest newsagent, WH Smith, as it has taken the decision to introduce an over-14s age limit on magazines including the Shooting Times, claiming that is the age when a firearm licence can be legally obtained.
The announcement has received mixed reactions, as many sports enthusiasts have pointed out that there is in fact no minimum age for holding a shotgun licence in Britain, although children below 18 cannot buy or own a gun themselves and under-14s must be supervised by an adult.
They have also suggested the high street then limit the sale of magazines such as Top Gear to those old enough to drive.
In addition, those against WH Smith’s decision have added that there are no formal legal restrictions on magazine purchasing and that pornographic magazines can be sold to customers of any age, with newsagents displaying them on the top shelf only by convention.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Christopher Graffius of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, commented: “It is extraordinary that in WH Smith you can buy a car magazine at any age, despite the age limit of 17 for driving"
“You can also buy war magazines which depict the killing of people, yet WH Smith is concerned about children buying shooting magazines, a legal and Olympic sport.
“At the recent party conferences, frontbench spokesmen and government ministers sang the praises of shooting sports for the sense of responsibility and discipline that they encourage in the children who take them up," Mr Graffius added.
“Yet W H Smith is trying to keep the magazines that encourage that approach out of children’s hands."
A W H Smith spokesman said: “As part of our commitment to operate our business responsibly, we have a till prompt on shooting titles. It asks our store teams to check that the customer is 14 years old or over, based on this being the legal age at which someone can possess a firearms certificate."