BASC has welcomed Home Office changes to the application process for firearms licensing as a sensible response to several years of consultation with the association, the police and other key groups.
As of April 1 this year, not only will the forms change, but GPs are being asked to place an encoded reminder onto an applicant’s medical record to prompt doctors to consider notifying the police of health concerns which may affect firearms possession.
The changes are in response to recommendations initially tabled by coroners, medical professionals and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
BASC, however, fought to allow Essex Police to run a successful pilot of the scheme which has ultimately been adopted; this involved more than 7,000 firearms licence holders and suggested GPs in fact needed to be consulted in fewer than two per cent of applications.
BASC, the UK’s largest shooting organisation with a membership of over 144,500, considers this new process will take shooting a step closer to 10-year certificates.
BASC had always opposed plans to introduce a compulsory scheme which forced applicants to complete a self-declaration medical form before submitting it to their doctor with a fee.
In turn, the GP was expected to amend or corroborate the information, place an encoded reminder on the patient record, then forward the form to the police. BASC fiercely resisted this proposal as wholly disproportionate.
Gary Ashton, BASC’s director of firearms operations, said: “BASC has been at the vanguard, ensuring certificate holders were protected from the original disproportionate and expensive proposals.
“BASC welcomes the commitment of the Home Office to the development of a sensible and pragmatic solution which will both mitigate the concerns expressed by the IPCC, coroners and medical profession and enhance public safety.”
A full version of the Home Office factfile on firearms licensing is available here.