Following correspondence from Patsy McGlone MLA and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has confirmed that it has no issue with firearms dealers issuing electronic dealer notes for deposits taken against firearms, aiding online trade.
Concern was first raised when PSNI Firearms and Explosives Branch emailed all firearm dealers in Northern Ireland, instructing them as a result of Covid-19 lockdown not to issue dealer notes.
BASC NI received a number of complaints from firearms dealers who were unhappy with the instruction not to issue dealer notes. The restriction impacted their ability to trade and secure deposits for firearms electronically, during what was already a very financially difficult Covid-19 lockdown period.
BASC initially raised the issue with Patsy McGlone MLA, chair of the All Party Group on Country Sports. Mr McGlone wrote to the PSNI Chief Constable highlighting the fact that the issuing of a dealer note could take place online whilst observing lockdown restrictions.
In addition, BASC Northern Ireland director, Tommy Mayne, wrote to the Head of PSNI Firearms and Explosives Branch, questioning the legal basis for the instruction to dealers not to issue dealer notes. The letter from Mr Mayne was copied to Diane Dodds (MLA) Minister for the Economy and Paul Given (MLA) chair of the NI Assembly’s Committee for Justice.
In separate responses, to Mr McGlone and BASC Northern Ireland, PSNI have now confirmed that it had no concerns with firearms dealers issuing dealer notes electronically.
On receiving clarification from PSNI, Mr McGlone said: “I am delighted to see that PSNI have recognised the practical realities of running a firearms dealers business during the Covid-19 lockdown period”.
BASC Northern Ireland director Tommy said: “The PSNI’s instruction to firearms dealers prevented them from trading in what is already an extremely difficult financial period. BASC is glad that PSNI has now confirmed that it has no issues with dealers issuing electronic receipts”.