Could licensing fees be due for an increase?
The Home Office is exploring an increase in licensing fees for firearms. The minister responsible for firearms licensing, Nick Hurd MP, recently confirmed in a written answer to a Parliamentary question that fees are currently being reviewed.
This would be another blow to the wallet for shooters, coming just a few weeks after Mr Hurd suggested every gun owner would have to pay a fee to their GP when applying for a certificate.
BASC has responded by highlighting that the online licensing system proposed in 2015, which it was anticipated would help the police to achieve full cost recovery, has still not been introduced. It also noted that the current system has been criticised as “inconsistent and inadequate” by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary due to some police forces processing applications in as little as five days and others taking 165 days.
BASC says the service needs to run smoothly before any fee increase takes place. Chairman Peter Glenser QC said: “This postcode lottery in service to firearms users is still in place. The system should not be rewarded for inadequacy, inconsistency and inefficiency. The Home Office must take this opportunity to ensure that certificate holders and applicants should receive the service they are paying for.
Proposals to make every gun owner pay a fee to their GP when applying for a shotgun or firearm certificate…
“BASC expects the Home Office to bring the working group back into existence. We expect widespread inefficiencies in service to be sorted out before an increase in fees is agreed.”