CA launches cam­paign for fair and con­sis­tent li­cens­ing

Sporting Shooter - - Shooting News -

The Coun­try­side Al­liance (CA) fea­tured in a BBC Coun­try­file in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the fail­ing med­i­cal pro­ce­dures as­so­ci­ated with firearms li­cens­ing. The Coun­try­side Al­liance has been at the fore­front of lob­by­ing the gov­ern­ment to re­solve the in­creas­ingly chaotic sit­u­a­tion, and used the broad­cast to launch their Cam­paign for Fair and Con­sis­tent Li­cens­ing.

New med­i­cal pro­ce­dures were in­tro­duced in April 2016 fol­low­ing three years of col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the gov­ern­ment, the po­lice, the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion and shoot­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions in­clud­ing the Coun­try­side Al­liance. These mea­sures were de­signed to fur­ther im­prove pub­lic safety and in­tro­duce the con­cept of ef­fec­tive con­tin­u­ous mon­i­tor­ing of the health of firearm and shot­gun cer­tifi­cate hold­ers, paving the way, in time, for 10-year cer­tifi­cates.

Un­for­tu­nately, within months of the Home Of­fice pub­lish­ing the agreed pro­ce­dures, the Bri­tish Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion (BMA) re­versed their sup­port for the pro­to­cols and be­gan ad­vis­ing lo­cal GPs and sug­eries to charge for the ini­tial med­i­cal records check, to which ap­pli­ca­tions and re­newals are now sub­ject.

The re­sult has been 18 months of to­tal chaos and con­fu­sion as GPs seek to charge a huge range of ar­bi­trary and un­reg­u­lated fees. Cer­tain po­lice forces are now re­fus­ing to is­sue li­cences un­less these fees are paid, prompt­ing the CA to take ac­tion.

The CA is ask­ing ev­ery­one who wants an ef­fec­tive med­i­cal pro­ce­dure to join the cam­paign by sign­ing its eLobby, which will send an email to the Home Of­fice min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for firearms li­cens­ing calling for im­me­di­ate ac­tion.

Liam Stokes, the CA’s Head of Shoot­ing, said: “Coun­try­file ef­fec­tively ex­posed the fun­da­men­tal flaw that is threat­en­ing to col­lapse the med­i­cal pro­ce­dures as­so­ci­ated with firearms li­cens­ing. The spokesman from Lin­colnshire Po­lice de­clared that all ap­pli­ca­tions and re­newals will be held up un­til what­ever fee the GPs wish to ex­tract is paid. This will cre­ate a post­code lot­tery in which an ap­pli­cant in neigh­bour­ing Not­ting­hamshire can ex­pect the sys­tem to op­er­ate as laid out by the Home Of­fice, whereas an ap­pli­cant in Lin­colnshire is sub­ject to a ran­dom sys­tem of un­reg­u­lated charges.

“We say this is un­fair and in­con­sis­tent, and we want ev­ery­one who agrees with us to join our cam­paign for re­form. This new guid­ance is less than two years old. The Home Of­fice needs to either find a way to en­force it, or ad­mit it isn’t work­ing and get all the stake­hold­ers back around the ta­ble to agree some­thing that works.”

Fol­low this link to join the cam­paign for a fair and con­sis­tent li­cens­ing pro­ce­dure: bit.ly/2AN0qjI

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