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MPs quiz shooting community over GPs and licensing

Shooting UK.
The Home Affairs Committee (HAC) last week quizzed representatives of the shooting community on controversial plans for GPs to share medical information about shotgun and firearms holders.

BASC?s senior firearms officer Mike Eveleigh, the Gun Trade Association?s director John Batley and Countryside Alliance shooting consultant Graham Downing presented evidence regarding the involvement of medical professionals in the licensing process.

Responding to questioning, Mr Eveleigh and Mr Downing outlined the existing obligation GPs have regarding concerns over the health of their patients who are shooters.

Mr Downing explained that placing a further onus on GPs within the licensing process would be counter to their primary role to ?give the best advice and to guard the confidences that their patients give to them?.

He added: ?What I would like to see is competent, experienced firearms licensing managers with teams of competent, experienced firearms inquiry officers, who all know their parish and know and understand the certificate holders who they are working with. In that way, I would expect that the firearms licensing process would be strengthened.?

Despite the subject under discussion concerning the medical profession, the HAC?s chairman, Labour?s Keith Vaz MP, once again chose to bring attention to the fact that children can legitimately hold a shotgun certificate – an aspect of UK firearms law he opposes strongly.

MPs also questioned the practicality of a proposal presented by Professor Peter Squires, a criminologist and leading advocate of gun control.

Prof Squires suggested that ammunition should not be kept at home by licensed gun owners.

Instead, he proposed that it should be ordered from a depot when required, with surplus returned after a shoot.

Lorraine Fullbrook MP said: ?How sensible is it for hundreds of thousands of people, particularly in agriculture, who live on large farms to travel miles to get their ammunition to come back to their land??

Prof Squires responded: ?How else do they get large quantities of seed or fertiliser? I would order it.?