Lengthy delays in firearms licensing in Northern Ireland are unacceptable and must be dealt with according to the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).
BASC NI is aware of cases which have taken more than a year before a decision is made and others which have taken several months. Delays are affecting both first-time applicants and those who have held a firearm certificate for a number of years. One gamekeeper with forty years’ experience waited for more than seven months to hear if he would be granted a different calibre rifle for fox control.
Tommy Mayne, director of BASC Northern Ireland, said: “Licence checks must be thorough and must protect public safety, but these lengthy and systematic delays are totally unacceptable. Police-approved firearm certificates must be renewed every five years. People are being put in a position where their legal authority to own firearms expires before a decision is made.
“During our investigation, BASC NI has been informed by Firearms and Explosives Branch staff at the Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI) that the delays are a result of ‘further checks’ which are outside their control. BASC will continue to campaign to ensure that our members receive fair treatment and an acceptable level of service.”
BASC has raised the issue of these delays with senior firearms licensing officers, with the NI Assembly Committee for Justice, with the Justice Minister and members of the Northern Ireland Policing Board. “
BASC asks anybody who is experiencing firearms licensing delays in Northern Ireland to contact the BASC NI office on 028 9260 5050 or email firstname.lastname@example.org