The Home Office has published the long-awaited consultation on firearms and shotgun licensing procedures set out in the new draft statutory guidance for police forces. During the passage of the Offensive Weapons Act the Countryside Alliance won a commitment from the Government to publish this consultation before the Summer recess. We welcome the fact that the Government has honoured that commitment, as the chaos surrounding firearms licensing, especially in relation to medical checks, has continued for far too long.
While we support every effort to increase the efficiency, coherence and safety of the licensing system, there remain significant concerns about the Government’s proposals. We remain concerned about the continuing uncertainty around GP fees. There is no indication of a suggested reasonable charge, or indeed whether GPs will be obliged to co-operate with the Police and the shooting community.
The proposed changes must also include reassurances that GPs will be required to place an enduring marker on medical records to enable a move to 10 year licences on the basis of continuous monitoring. The Home Office and Department of Health must work together to deliver an efficient and robust system, reducing the burden and cost to shooters, GPs and the police.
We will shortly be issuing a more detailed response to all the specific issues that this consultation raises and would encourage members to respond to the consultation to ensure our views are heard by the Government. The consultation can be found here.