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The Home Office today published new guidance on firearms licencing in a bid to drive efficiency and consistency and reduce bureaucracy for the police.

The 254-page document provides consolidated guidance on firearms legislation and replaces the previous guidance published in 2002.

Damian Green, Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice, states in the foreword: “I believe that the ownership of any firearm is a privilege and not a right.”

The new guidance takes into account recent legislation changes as well as recent events, such as the shootings in Cumbria in 2010 and Durham in 2012, which Mr Green says have “focussed attention on the importance of having an excellent firearms licensing process”.

“Whilst we have the most robust firearms licensing system in the world, we can always strive to be more efficient, and make the licensing process as practical and as safe as possible.”

It’s hoped the new publication will reduce bureaucracy within police firearms licensing departments, reinforce the importance of proper assesment – specifically with regards to domestic violence – and provide guidance on emerging issues such as applications to possess firearms on UK registered ships in response to the risk of piracy.

The update has been welcomed by BASC. Bill Harriman, Director of Firearms at BASC, said many of their submitted suggestions had been included in the publication.

“Although it is not perfect, the new guide is a dramatic improvement on the 2002 Home Office Guidance to the Police. Firearms licensing needs to do two things: protect public safety and allow the continued lawful use of firearms, which are an essential part of the countryside. This guidance should help to achieve both of these goals.”

You can download the new guidance online. Click here for a pdf download.

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