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This is why you’ll probably get your shotgun licence faster in future

The Home Office has announced changes to firearm and shotgun application forms at the end of December 2017, which should speed up the service and pave the way for online licensing.

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Anything that speeds up licence applications is welcome news for shooters

New application forms for shotgun certificates and firearms licences will ask whether an applicant has ever been diagnosed or treated for a relevant medical condition, removing ambiguity around the current wording. The changes 
will apply in England, Scotland 
and Wales and come into effect 
on 31 December 2017, though old forms will remain valid for the 
first eight weeks of 2018.

Greater clarity

BASC firearms officer Mike Eveleigh said: “The loose wording on the old form caused problems by simply asking if an applicant was suffering from any prescribed illness. BASC is pleased that the Home Office will bring greater clarity to the question.

“The old wording was an anomaly that caused problems for police licensing departments and for members. We have been pushing for improvements to the forms for many years.”

Mr Eveleigh also explained 
that other minor amendments 
on the forms will make a move 
to online applications possible. 
“While it won’t be obvious on the 
forms, there are also some legal 
changes in the background which we understand will bring closer the day when applications will 
be available online,” he said.

“If it simplifies and speeds 
up the application system, it will be a welcome improvement. Many functions are dealt with online now and the public has come to expect this level of service. We will work with police and the Home Office to ensure that nobody is disadvantaged 
by the online process.”

BASC chairman Peter Glenser commented: “BASC is aware that applicants have had problems in the past simply because the non-specific wording in some of the questions on the forms was open to interpretation. To complete the forms incorrectly can lead to prosecution, so it is pleasing to see the Home Office has now imported this clarity.

“We are also hopeful that online licensing, when it is introduced in England and 
Wales, will generally improve 
the licensing process. However, BASC will work to ensure that those of our members who can’t access the online system for whatever reason will still have access to the paper system.”