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New eight-week consultation on firearms licensing launched today

decoying crows

Mark Ripley swings through a crossing row, adding another body to the decoys on the field below

The Minister for Crime and Policing Chris Philip has today launched an eight-week consultation on firearms licensing.

BASC director of firearms Bill Harriman said: “This is the most significant and important firearms licensing consultation in 35 years. It is essential that the shooting community respond and feed in their views. |

“People must not be silent and think others will do the work for them. The shooting community must respond in numbers.”

Proposals made by the Minister include including mandatory involvement of GPs and the review of the length of a certificate.

Shooting UK spoke to Bryce Blandford-Corp of Avalon Guns who commented: “This is putting a big squeeze on gun owners. The police are already struggling to keep up with the demand for firearms certificate applications, which is impacting our business. It could actually be a smokescreen by the powers that be to reduce applications.”

The government has decided not to align shotgun and firearms legislation, saying: “Shotguns are already subject to significant controls on their use and they are important in helping farmers control vermin on their land and in rural pursuits. We will keep this under review, but we are concerned that additional controls on shotguns are unnecessary and would have a negative impact on their legitimate use.”

Evidence-led proposals

Mr Harriman added: “Any proposals must be evidence-led and proven to enhance public safety without disproportionately hindering legitimate shooting activities.

“The focus of any changes to legislation should remain on ensuring that the firearms licensing system is workable and efficient. A high level of service and consistency across the 43 licensing departments in England and Wales is essential.

“The announcement today of the allocation of £500,000 to fund police firearms licensing personnel training, and for this training to become mandatory for all police firearms licensing teams, will enhance public safety.”

(Have your say on the firearms consultation here.)