It’s been a busy time on the firearms front in re­cent months and, as ever, BASC are do­ing all they can to mon­i­tor and im­prove ser­vices to the col­lec­tive ben­e­fit of all firearms users

Sporting Shooter - - Contents -

Li­censes and fees

Of­fen­sive weapons con­sul­ta­tion

The Home Of­fice has pub­lished pro­pos­als to ban the own­er­ship of .50-cal­i­bre ri­fles and rapid-fir­ing ri­fles, such as the VZ 58 Man­u­ally Ac­tu­ated Re­lease Sys­tem (MARS) ri­fle; this is in ad­di­tion to pro­pos­als to re­strict the on­line sale of knives, so that they can­not be de­liv­ered to a pri­vate res­i­den­tial ad­dress and must be col­lected at a place where the buyer’s ID can be checked.

We be­lieve that there is a lack of ev­i­dence to sup­port all these pro­pos­als and we have made this clear in our con­sul­ta­tion re­sponse.

An­tique firearms con­sul­ta­tion

On a more pos­i­tive note, we have wel­comed Home Of­fice pro­pos­als to change the laws on an­tique firearms. This could pro­vide some clar­ity and cer­tainty that has been miss­ing for more than a cen­tury.

We be­lieve that the changes will re­move am­bi­gu­ity by pro­vid­ing a de­fin­i­tive list of ac­cepted ob­so­lete cal­i­bres and ig­ni­tion meth­ods, and will al­low a firearm of a cal­i­bre and type sub­se­quently not ac­cepted as an­tique to be added to a firearm or shot­gun cer­tifi­cate.

In de­vel­op­ing our con­sul­ta­tion re­sponse, we have drawn on our close links to the mu­seum world, the an­tiques trade and col­lec­tors’ as­so­ci­a­tions to en­sure that col­lec­tors are not dis­ad­van­taged by changes to the cur­rent po­si­tion, as well as ex­ploit­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­pand the range of an­tique firearms that can be col­lected with­out any cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Po­lice Scot­land in­spec­tion

The HM In­spec­torate of Con­stab­u­lary in Scot­land re­cently ran an on­line sur­vey invit­ing any­one who had ap­plied to Po­lice Scot­land for a firearm, shot­gun or air­gun cer­tifi­cate in the last two years to give their opin­ion on the cur­rent li­cens­ing process. The re­sults of the sur­vey are part of its in­spec­tion of Po­lice Scot­land’s li­cens­ing ar­range­ments. We aim to en­sure that this in­spec­tion leads to sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments to the Scot­tish li­cens­ing sys­tem.

North­ern Ire­land’s li­cens­ing de­lays

We re­cently met with North­ern Ire­land’s au­di­tor gen­eral to alert him to de­lays in the firearm li­cens­ing process. We dis­cussed the Po­lice Ser­vice of North­ern Ire­land’s (PSNI) fail­ure to con­sult on their in­ten­tion to re­move the pa­per firearms li­cens­ing ap­pli­ca­tion sys­tem, de­spite their statu­tory obli­ga­tions. Cur­rent back­logs are be­lieved to be in ex­cess of 4,000 ap­pli­ca­tions.

We also spoke about the PSNI’s fail­ure to pub­lish pro­cess­ing times, de­spite prom­ises to the NI Assem­bly’s Com­mit­tee for Jus­tice dur­ing ev­i­dence ses­sions prior to the in­crease in firearms li­cens­ing fees. We are con­fi­dent that the au­di­tor gen­eral will use his in­flu­ence to re­duce pro­cess­ing times and en­sure ser­vice lev­els are im­proved.

GPs charg­ing “il­le­gal” med­i­cal fees

BASC mem­bers in Lin­colnshire have been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing prob­lems with their GP prac­tices when ap­ply­ing for the grant or re­newal of

cer­tifi­cates. Many have re­ceived in­voices for vary­ing amounts to­gether with an ac­com­pa­ny­ing let­ter. The con­tent of the let­ter con­tains a spe­cific threat that if they do not pay the fee, the GP will write to the po­lice and tell them to as­sume that the ap­pli­cant suf­fers a rel­e­vant med­i­cal con­di­tion which pre­cludes them from hold­ing a cer­tifi­cate.

We have chal­lenged these GP prac­tices that they could be com­mit­ting crim­i­nal of­fences by at­tempt­ing to ex­tract un­nec­es­sary fees from ap­pli­cants, and we have re­ported the GP prac­tices and Lin­colnshire Med­i­cal Coun­cil to the Fit­ness to Prac­tise Direc­torate of the Gen­eral Med­i­cal Coun­cil.

BASC and Coun­try­side Al­liance have asked the Home Of­fice to re­con­vene the Med­i­cal Ev­i­dence Work­ing Group, which has not met since the med­i­cal scheme was in­tro­duced in April 2016.

We are con­tin­u­ing to ad­vise BASC mem­bers not to pay any fee which a GP may de­mand upon re­ceipt of an ini­tial let­ter from the po­lice ad­vis­ing that a pa­tient is ap­ply­ing for a li­cence. You can visit our web­site for more in­for­ma­tion and ad­vice on this topic.

STAY UP TO DATE For any in­for­ma­tion on shoot­ing and con­ser­va­tion, the BASC web­site should be your first point of ref­er­ence.

New pro­pos­als prom­ise clar­ity for buy­ers of an­tique firearms

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