Shooters have plenty of questions, as shown by the 10,000 queries received by BASC's firearms team in 2019
A big concern for shooters last year was police forces demanding that firearm certificate applications were independently medically verified, according to the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC). This demand is not in line with Home Office advice.
Bill Harriman, BASC’s director of firearms described the situation as: “the mess caused by the large number of police forces which have stepped away from the Home Office guidance.”
What should happen … and what does happen
Home Office guidance has been that police forces can send letters to GPs, asking them to medically verify firearms certificate applicants within 21 days, with the application progressing if no response is received. However many GPs are not following this guidance and as a result almost 50% of UK police forces are requesting independent medical verifications. This can prove very costly for the shooter, with reports of some GPs charging over £300. Others refuse to give verification.
To help with the complicated situation regarding medical verification and firearms application, BASC has just set up a service to help applicants being obstructed and delayed by unhelpful GPS. It helps them to secure medical verification and assists those being charged high fees by their medical provider or who have GPs who are anti-shooting.
Medical verification firearms applications
Bill Harriman also comments: “A lot of people are under the impression that they must supply a medical report to demonstrate their suitability to have firearms. That is not the case; the only requirement is for a GP to look at the patient’s medical records and verify that the declaration on the form is true.”
The BASC firearms team can be reached on 01244 573010. It is always advisable for shooters to be covered by shooting insurance and to be a member of a shooting organisation such as BASC, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), or the National Gamekeepers Organisation (NGO) as members have access to a dedicated team of specialists who can answer complicated queries.