Medical verification in firearms licensing: our letter to the Guardian

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation,
Marford Mill,
Ll12 0HL.

Dear Sirs,

Dal Babu is wrong to assume that a doctor who is a member of BASC should be barred from conducting a medical verification for a shotgun certificate. (Opinion 18th August) The shooting community has an obvious interest in ensuring public safety. Without it responsible and legal shooting as we know it would not exist.

What Dal Babu misses is the importance of continuous medical monitoring of certificate holders through the placement of a marker, identifying them as firearms owners, on their medical notes. Such a marker enables doctors to inform police during the life of a certificate if the holder develops a condition which rules out the possession of firearms.

The gap in the system is that while the applicant for a certificate, and the police who process it, all have statutory responsibilities, the doctor does not. Their participation is wholly voluntary, and many GPs refuse to participate and place markers on medical notes or charge outrageous fees – up to £300 – to do so.

That is why BASC and others have had to develop medical panels to provide efficient and effective scrutiny and verification of an applicant’s medical history. If GPs were obliged to participate such panels would be unnecessary.

Yours faithfully,

Christopher Graffius

Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs, BASC