The UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), has helped to head off pressure on firearm certificate holders at a national conference of medical professionals.
BASC’s director of firearms, Bill Harriman, was contacted from the Local Medical Committees Conference 2011 by BASC member and GP Tony Grewal.
Dr Grewal had noticed a number of points for debate regarding firearms licensing.
He telephoned BASC and within 90 minutes, had in his hand a full briefing from Mr Harriman. He relayed this information in a speech to delegates and as a result, managed to defeat a number of potentially hostile proposals.
Bill Harriman said: “BASC is capable of a very fast, multi-operational response to important issues like this. There seems to be an increasing and incorrect view among some sections of the medical profession that public ownership of guns is a public health issue.
“Dr Grewal quickly recognised that these issues were very detrimental to shooting but needed more information to attack the motion. We have that information and were able to get it over to Dr Grewal quickly and in plenty of time for him to be able to factor in his own background information as a person who shoots and a medical professional before he stood up and gave a rousing and effective speech which convinced the delegates. Our combined efforts secured an excellent result which can be used in our ongoing negotiations with the BMA. I wish to publicly thank Dr Grewal for bringing this to our attention and to appeal to BASC members that if they pick up on anything they are unsure we are aware of, please do contact us to check.”
Dr Grewal said: "I was concerned that some of the suggestions in a motion to the national Conference of Local Medical Committees (a policy making body for the general practice committee of the BMA) on shotgun and firearms licensing were onerous and without evidence. I contacted BASC and was quickly put through to Bill Harriman. I was able to give details of the motion and my concerns, and was e-mailed an authoritative and comprehensive briefing which I was able to deliver almost verbatim to the conference. A very satisfactory outcome ensued, and I was congratulated by a senior member of the GP committee of the BMA on a well researched and convincing speech. Although tempted to bask in the glory, I did give the credit to BASC for a magnificent piece of work. Thankyou and well done."
The points raised and their results are as follows:
*To be a holder of a gun license should be a privilege given by society only to those who uphold the highest personal standards of behaviour – withdrawn.
*The gun licensing process needs to be primarily focused on public safety and the need to have an agreed purpose for firearm use – passed.
*The GP role in any application by a patient for a gun license should be solely limited to commenting on any health factors the GP considers may be relevant – passed.
*There should be no formal data links between GP and police services – ie "flagging notes” to indicate gun ownership – passed.
*Those who wish to hold a gun license should undergo (at their own expense) the equivalent of a gun “HGV” medical and a private psychological assessment by specialist staff to indicate suitability to own a gun – rejected.
*Those who wish to hold a gun license should give a written legal undertaking outlining their personal duty to report, and also give explicit permission for others (including family, community representatives, employees and work colleagues and GP) to report, any relevant information to the gun licensing authority – rejected. ENDS