The Home Office has written to BASC to announce that the consultation on firearms licensing statutory guidance, including medical involvement, will be launched shortly. The consultation is expected to last eight weeks and BASC will be encouraging all who shoot to respond.
In response BASC welcomed the comments from Policing Minister Nick Hurd that those who shoot should not be disadvantaged and his support for a working ‘marker’ system that could lead to ten-year certificates.
But BASC has warned that other measures described in the letter would not deliver a consistent, robust licensing system. BASC has called for a statutory duty on doctors to participate in firearms licensing, questioned the need for any fee and urged the Home Office to include the Department of Health in the consultation.
The Policing and Crime Act requires the Home Office’s firearms licensing guidance to be made statutory to improve consistency across the 44 constabularies in Great Britain. One section of the guidance to be made statutory is the verification by doctors of the applicant’s medical declaration for firearms licensing applications and renewals.
Medical involvement in firearms licensing has been in a state of chaos since it was launched in April 2016. Inconsistency across forces, GPs either unwilling to act or charging excessive fees, and confusion over the guidance has made the system untenable.
Christopher Graffius, executive director of communications and public affairs, said: “The medical procedure has been in disarray for over three years and the forthcoming consultation gives us the opportunity to address these issues.”
“We want to see an efficient, cost-effective, robust system of firearms licensing that protects public safety and provides excellent service to the shooting community. This message has been made loud and clear to the Home Office in correspondence and numerous face-to-face meetings and will be made again when the consultation is launched.
“We call on all those who shoot to participate in the consultation and BASC will ensure that the means of doing so and the materials required to take past are easily accessible.”