BASC has said that those applying for and renewing shotgun or firearm certificates should not pay any fee demanded by their general practitioner for conforming to the guidance issued by the government.
Under the guidance the general practitioner is required to check the applicant’s medical record and inform the licensing authority of any medical facts that may be relevant to the grant or renewal of a certificate. Doctors are not required to give an opinion on the suitability of the applicant for a certificate. Doctors should also place an encoded reminder on their patients’ medical records. A fee only becomes justified if the licensing authority require further medical involvement beyond the initial response.
The government, police, shooting organisations and medical representatives from the BMA, Royal College of General Practitioners and General Medical Council agreed this system in a Home Office working group which produced the guidance on medical involvement in firearms licensing. BASC is disappointed that some doctors are now demanding payment for a matter that affects public safety and in opposition to the agreement reached by the BMA.
BASC advises applicants to refuse to pay any fee demanded. Should the doctor refuse to participate without money, the guidance states that after 21 days, if there is no response from the doctor, it will be assumed that there are no medical issues.
Paul Dale, BASC Firearms Officer said: “ After all the work that the representatives of all interests put into the agreement on medical involvement I am deeply disappointed that some doctors see the process as yet another chance to make money. Public safety should mean more to them than a fee.”
Peter Glenser, Chairman of BASC and a barrister practising in firearms law said: “The whole thrust of developing law on firearms guidance is that it is not an optional extra. That applies to doctors as much as the police. Applicants for certificates should refuse to comply.”