BASC statement on Plymouth shooting incident

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Our thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends of those who lost their lives and those impacted by this devastating incident in Plymouth.

With the incident being referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), it is essential it is given the time and space to establish the full facts and avoid knee-jerk reactions. BASC’s appearances across TV, radio and in print since Thursday have highlighted the danger of speculation, the rarity of tragic incidents such as this and the important role shooting plays in the environmental, economic, and social life of the country.

The UK has some of the strictest firearms legislation in the world and one of the lowest rates of homicide due to the use of firearms. In the overwhelming majority of cases the current system protects public safety. 

BASC’s priority is to see an effective and working medical involvement within the firearms licensing process, and administrative consistency between police forces across Great Britain; one that balances the requirement for public safety with the reasonable expectations of those who possess licensed firearms for work, sport or leisure.

We note, unlike the legal duties placed on applicants and licensing departments, the lack of any statutory duty on doctors to be involved in the licensing process and the number of doctors who refuse to be involved. We also note that many doctors will not place markers on the medical notes of certificate holders to deliver effective monitoring of their health during the life of their certificate. We will be pressing the authorities on this point.

We also note that many firearms licensing departments already check the social media of applicants who come to their attention.

BASC is the only organisation in the UK to monitor the performance of the 43 firearms licensing departments and has done so for more than 15 years.