Advice from BASC on changes to licensing process
BASC has released a statement bringing to the attention of its members changes in the way police and GPs in England and Wales share information on the issue of shotgun and firearms licences.
The police will now contact an applicant’s GP to request medical information immediately upon receiving their application, rather than requesting the information once the certificate has been issued.
BASC has also reiterated its advice to shooters not to pay any fees requested by their GPs for responding to the initial police contact; fees should only be paid if the police request further medical information as a result of the applicant declaring a medical condition, or if the GP indicates that they have any concerns relating to a medical condition and require more information.
The police have also removed the pro-forma, which GPs were required to complete before returning, from the application process.
Paul Dale, a member of BASC’s firearms team who has led on this issue for the association, commented: “These welcome changes to the arrangements should improve the service being offered to applicants.
“It has now been made quite clear that GPs should only respond to the initial police letter if they have concerns about the applicant. The police request that any such response is forwarded within 21 days [otherwise] it will be assumed they have no relevant information and therefore the application will be granted.”
BASC chairman Peter Glenser, a barrister specialising in firearms legislation, added: “This is common sense fine-tuning of the process. It should speed up applications while also helping GPs deal with their responsibilities more efficiently.
“It is important for public safety that the medical profession gets fully behind the process. It helps nobody if GPs and other medical bodies throw obstacles in the way of a legitimate process which had previously been agreed by all stakeholders.”