The Countryside Alliance supports a firearms licensing system that involves continuous monitoring of the certificate holder’s medical condition which is enabled by an ‘enduring marker’ placed on the certificate holder’s patient record by his or her GP.
The procedure would prompt GPs to raise medical conditions of concern with the police as soon as they arise, instead of only when the applicant renews their certificate. The correct application of continuous monitoring will create appropriate safeguards which will work towards enhancing public safety. Because the periodical check every 5 years becomes less crucial, this process will enable the introduction of a longer duration (eg. 10 year) certificate.
The Countryside Alliance believes the initial check of a shooter’s medical records and the application of the enduring marker should not attract a fee, as was agreed by the Medical Evidence Working Group during the development of this process. We believe that the institution of any such fee should not occur without the Group being reconvened. Should a GP fee be agreed by the Group, then it must be proportionate and consistently applied across the country. It is acknowledged in Home Office guidance, and supported by the Countryside Alliance, that where a GP does not respond to the police within 21 days, then the applicant should not be disadvantaged, and the police should continue processing the application.
The Countryside Alliance rejects any and all attempts to abuse this process to provide a new income stream for GPs. There is clear evidence of GPs demanding exorbitant charges and costly annual reviews that form no part of the Home Office Guidance. This process must be about public safety, nothing more.
The Countryside Alliance believes the system is fundamentally broken, and is requesting the Medical Evidence Working Group is reconvened so a working and acceptable solution can be agreed by all stakeholders.