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New medical monitoring for firearms and shotgun licence holders

From 1 April 2016, firearms and shotgun licence holders will be continuously monitored for health issues

The new system, led by the Home Office, will make it much more straightforward for GPs to alert police licensing departments if a medical condition is going to affect the certificate holder’s suitability to possess firearms. The condition can also be flagged up during the period the certificate is valid.

However, the continuous monitoring will not change the current medical issues that raise concern or the reasons for police to ask for a medical referral.

Closer to 10-year certification

This procedure is in response to recommendations requested by coroners, medical professionals and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). It is also possible that it will take shooting closer to 10-year certification, believes the British Association for Shooting & Conservation (BASC).

Gary Ashton, BASC’s director of firearms operations, said: “BASC welcomes the commitment of the Home Office to the development of a sensible and pragmatic solution which will both mitigate the concerns expressed by the IPCC, coroners and medical profession and enhance public safety.”

Tim Bonner, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, said:” The Countryside Alliance has sat on the medical evidence working group since its origin. We have been searching for an improvement to the system that would have minimal impact on the majority of certificate holders but help to prevent those rare occurrences when failure to detect health concerns has led to a risk to public safety. We hope that this process of continuous monitoring can pave the way towards a longer certificate life which will reduce the burden on police forces.”