Firearms Licencing Consultation (Action Required)
If you haven't completed the Firearms consultation, it's not too late to do so, but please act fast!
Firearms licensing Consultation - responses must be submitted by 23rd August 2023.
Working closely with our fellow associations, we have set out our recommended answers to the consultation:
Q1. Do you consider that the police should be granted a specific power of entry (without warrant) to be able to seize shotguns, firearms, and ammunition where there is a risk to public safety and the peace, and the certificate holder does not cooperate with the police and agree to voluntary surrender. In association with this proposal, the police should be given the power to suspend a certificate temporarily).
No. It is our view that the police already have sufficient powers to enter a property when there is a risk to life or the peace. Where there is no such immediate risk, the Chief Officer has the power to immediately revoke a certificate, thus placing the holder in illegal possession. This in turn provides the opportunity for entry.
Q2. Do you consider that the prohibition on possessing firearms should be changed from one that is based solely on length of a custodial sentence following conviction, to one based more on the nature of the offence?
No. The present system of prohibitions based on the length of a custodial or suspended sentence is both simple and well understood.
Q3. Do you consider that the renewal period (currently every five years) for a certificate should be kept under review? If so, is renewal every five years the right period of time or should it be changed to a shorter or longer period of time?
Yes and more than 5 years. We believe that the improved checks on certificate holders mean that the circumstances are now such that certificate life can safely be extended to 10 years.
Q4. Do you consider that people applying for shotgun certificates should provide two referees?
No. We do not believe this is necessary.
Q5. Do you consider that at least one of the referees should be a person of certain standing in the community (e.g., of a professional background)?
Q6. Do you consider that the referees should be able to demonstrate a good knowledge of the applicant’s circumstances relevant to their suitability to possess a firearm or shotgun?
Q7. Do you consider that the application form should include a checklist for referees on the information they should provide to the police, and require referees to provide a written declaration that they have disclosed all relevant facts to the police?
Leave blank. See comments box under Q21.
Q8. Do you consider that the Statutory Guidance should include more detailed guidance for the police on the information they should be looking to elicit from referees?
No. We believe that sufficient guidance already exists within sections 2.21 to 2.24 of the Statutory Guidance, and that no additional detail is needed.
Q9. Do you consider that the police should look at the circumstances when individuals change referees between application and renewal and between subsequent renewals?
No. There is no particular reason why an applicant might be expected to rely on the same referee between grant and renewal and at subsequent renewals.
Q10. Do you consider that the sharing of the unique application reference number by applicants with their referees, would make it easier for referees to report concerns about applicants, decline to give references or report concerns about certificate holders to the police?
No. We do not believe that use of a unique reference number would provide any benefit whatsoever. A referee is well able to report concerns to the police without such a number.
Q11. Do you consider that the content in the Statutory Guidance should be expanded and made more prescriptive in relation to the suitability checks carried out by the police for firearm and shotgun applicants and certificate holders?
No. We feel that the current text regarding suitability checks is comprehensive.
Q12. Do you consider that the balance of probabilities test is the correct test to apply in the Statutory Guidance to information about a person’s suitability to hold a certificate?
Yes. The balance of probabilities test has served firearms licensing well since the Firearms Act 1920. As licensing is an administrative matter, it is appropriate that the civil law test continues to be applied.
Q13. Do you consider that neurodevelopmental disorders should be added to the list of relevant medical conditions in the Statutory Guidance (and application forms)?
No. The family of neurodevelopmental disorders is extremely wide and many of those who are, for example, on the Asperger spectrum are entirely suitable to possess firearms. We do not, therefore, feel that such disorders should be singled out in the application process.
Q14. Do you consider that GP’s engagement with the firearms licensing process should be made mandatory?
Q15. Do you consider that interim medical checks should be made on licensed firearms holders in between the grant of the certificate and any application to renew?
Q16. Do you consider that the digital marker for use by GPs on the medical records of licenced firearms holders should be visible to other health professionals?
Q17. Do you consider there should be more mental health advice and support for licenced firearms holders through, for example, advice leaflets and other such support?
Q18. Do you consider a specific phoneline should be introduced in addition to the services already available to report concerns about a licenced firearms holder?
Q19. How in principle should any specific phoneline be funded: public funding or other sources funding?
Q20. Do you consider that it would be better to raise awareness of existing avenues open to raise concerns about a licenced firearms holder (999 etc)?
Q21. If you have any comments on the subject matter of this consultation, please enter them below.
Re Q7, Yes to a checklist which may be helpful but No to a declaration.
Re Q18 - 20, Existing channels of communication for the public are fully adequate.
Please see below link to the Home Office consultation released on the 29th June which we strongly encourage you to review and submit your response to.
Responses must be submitted by 23rd August 2023 by:
Completing the online form at: https://www.homeofficesurveys.homeoffice.gov.uk/s/firearms-licensing/
Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org