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Shooters must announce past convictions

There is no such thing as a "spent" conviction when it comes to firearms licensing, warns BASC.

Shooters are being warned not to withhold details of past or “spent” convictions when applying for or renewing their firearm and shotgun certificates, otherwise they could risk prosecution.

BASC has reminded its members of their legal obligation to fill out the forms correctly in regard to the standard question on previous convictions, including crimes they might not feel are relevant, after it was alerted to ongoing prosecutions by South Wales Police.

Disclose convictions

Simon Vann, one of BASC’s firearms officers, commented: “There may be a temptation not to mention convictions the applicant feels are not relevant or are so old as to be spent. But it is clear South Wales Police is now taking a hard-line stance and members are advised to ensure they accurately complete their application forms as per the legal requirement or face prosecution.”

It is against the law to knowingly make a false statement in connection with the grant or renewal of a certificate, and BASC has advised anyone who is unsure about where they stand with regard to a previous conviction to plan ahead.

“It is possible to pay the Criminal Records Office for a subject access disclosure, which details all information held about you on the Police National Computer. Applications can be made by post or online and the fee is currently £10,” said Mr Vann.

No such thing as spent

“For the purposes of the firearms acts, there is no such thing as a spent conviction,” he continued. “Applicants must include all convictions, including all motoring offences except fixed penalty and parking tickets, whether still recorded on their driving licence or otherwise and whether in Britain or abroad.

“Informal cautions do not need to be mentioned, but formal written cautions and conditional or absolute discharges do.

“We are also advising members that it is not sufficient to write ‘please see your records’ or ‘as previous application’. There is no need to give full details of each offence, but the date and type of offence is required by law.”