Following representations by BASC that proposed changes would pre-empt a government consultation, Gloucestershire Police has shelved plans to change its firearms licensing policy.
Gloucestershire Police had been due to introduce unnecessary medical checks on every applicant but BASC has been told the plans are now on hold, pending the outcome of a Home Office consultation on firearms licensing guidance due to launch next month.
Bill Harriman, BASC’s director of firearms, said: “Gloucestershire Police appears to have listened and common sense has prevailed.
“We made representations to the Chief Constable, Police and Crime Commissioner and local MPs and have received confirmation from the force that the plans are on hold pending the outcome of the Home Office consultation on firearms, which will include medical involvement in licensing due to launch next month.”
Mr Harriman said BASC still had concerns that Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and Thames Valley Police were pre-empting the government consultation by changing their firearms licensing policies. He called on them to follow Gloucestershire’s lead by putting the plans on hold.
GMP has said that from July 1st it wants a GP to verify the medical information provided by those seeking firearm and shotgun certificates at the point of application, which is a significant deviation on a previously agreed national protocol. The change will affect any renewal from 1st October 2019.
Thames Valley wants to make it mandatory for anyone applying for the grant or renewal of a shotgun or firearms certificate to submit with their application a completed GP pro-forma report on any relevant medical conditions. The force states the new policy will take effect from August 1st 2019.
Robin Marshall-Ball, a member of BASC Council, said: “Both of these policy changes are in breach of Home Office guidance. We have written to the Chief Constables of Greater Manchester and Thames Valley Police forces calling for urgent meetings with them and have written to the PCCs and MPs in both areas calling for the planned changes to be postponed pending the outcome of next month’s government consultation on revised Home Office guidance on firearms licensing.”