pile of paper

Firearms licensing in the Thames Valley

“What we know from experience is that widespread use of these [Section 7 permits] places an additional administrative demand on the Licensing Department which far from resolving the problem for our licence holders ultimately exacerbates it.” That’s from a letter sent to me by Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Andy Taylor, writing with the advice of the licensing manager Zoey Evans, in February…

gunsafes

Cohabiting? What’s the law on shotgun licences and gunsafes?

A: It always makes practical sense for cohabitees to have each other’s shotguns listed on both their individual certificates. If that is done, there never can be any question about either party having access to the other’s shotguns. The same holds true for Section 1 Firearms but then both parties will have to satisfy the “good reason” test…

rifle and bullets

“Little impact” from EU gun restrictions thanks to MEPs

Conservative MEP Vicky Ford says she is making “good progress” in her discussions to agree revisions to the EU Firearms Directive. Following the third round of discussions between the European Parliament, Commission and Council, Mrs Ford said the three sides were moving together on a range of issues. “At the moment, the Parliament is demanding its key positions are met. We…

Firearms licensing – still waiting for a certificate

I read with particular interest David Frost’s article about the terrible state of the UK firearms licensing process. I am unfortunate enough to fall under the catchment of the Essex firearms team, despite being a stone’s throw from Suffolk (which appears to be delivering reasonable standards). You may find it interesting to know that service standards have further deteriorated.…

GPs firearms licensing process

GPs “must co-operate with firearms licensing process”

The British Medical Association (BMA) has issued new guidance instructing GPs that they ” must engage in the process of firearms licensing when requested to do so”. Following discussions with BASC and the Home Office, and taking legal advice, the BMA has also told GPs who refuse to deal with…

man with shotgun

Firearms licensing: the best and worst revealed

It now seems unbelievable that in 1916 you could buy and own as many guns as you liked without let or hindrance. That changed in 1920 when firearms ownership was controlled, but shotguns were not controlled until 1967. For 21 years thereafter we had a light-touch shotgun control system that worked pretty well, but the bureaucrats had to have…

shotgun certificate

Firearms certificate changes ahead?

Firstly, how did you get the job? “I stepped up as assistant chief constable of Durham Constabulary temporarily in October 2012 and became substantive in July 2014. In a recent change as of mid July, I have been promoted to temporary deputy chief constable. As I was going through the ACC period, a number of national portfolios…

Firearm Certificate

Countryside Alliance welcomes improvements to Firearms Act

The Countryside Alliance (CA) has welcomed two amendments to the Firearms Act, describing them as “significant improvements”. The changes to firearms licensing, which the CA called for in March, have now been tabled as Government amendments to the Policing and Crime Bill. The CA has joined partnership organisations in welcoming…

reloading ammunition

Loading for some friends – is it legal?

A: There is nothing in law that says you may not reload cartridges for other people as a favour. The only proviso is that you must have a firearm certificate that authorises you to possess the cartridge types your friends want you to reload. You must also ensure that the quantity that you intend to reload does not…

share shotgun certificate details

Should I share my shotgun certificate details with my new shoot?

Q: I am looking forward to joining a small walk-and-stand game shoot this coming season. However, the shoot has just asked me to send a copy of my shotgun certificate. Surely this is confidential information? I am not happy about sending a copy and wonder if there is any legal requirement…

firearms licensing system

The firearms licensing system could do better

In September 2015 HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) published its report into the efficiency and effectiveness of the firearms licensing system. It had the infelicitous title “Targeting the Risk” which rather suggests that legitimate firearms owners are a problem – we aren’t. Moreover it later goes on to talk about its recommendations “all of which are designed to protect the…

Can a shooter with one eye shoot legally?

A: No, they cannot. The police may not attach an “accompanied” condition to a shotgun certificate in the way that they may add a condition to a firearm certificate. If you are a certificate holder, then you may continue to shoot unaccompanied as you have done in the past. Were the police to believe that, because of…

transfer shotguns

How do you transfer shotguns between certificates?

A reader asked for some advice:  A friend of mine is moving house but, until his other property is ready, he would like me to hold his shotguns rather than put them in the care of a local gunshop. I appreciate that I can hold them for 72 hours without notifying the…

GP with patient

British Medical Association makes U-turn on licence fees

The British Medical Association (BMA) has advised GPs not to provide shooters’ medical information to the police without a fee and suggested that it is acceptable to withhold the service on ethical grounds. The new encoded reminder system was introduced in April. It requires GPs to provide the police with any information suggesting an applicant should not be in…

Man with gun and shot rabbit

Knee-jerk legislation dropped from EU Firearms Directive

A revised set of amendments to the EU Firearms Directive has been drafted, removing some of those proposals that had been criticised as unnecessary restrictions on lawful gun owners. Following the terrorist attacks in Paris last year, the European Commission brought forward plans to tighten gun laws, including a ban on semi-automatic .22 rimfires and new age limitations, despite a…