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Gun licence holders to be inspected more often, report suggests

Many farmers have gun cabinets in their homes and any ramping up of inspections could lead to extra inspections

Olivia   Midgley

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Olivia   Midgley
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Report claimed lessons had not been learned from previous tragedies
Report claimed lessons had not been learned from previous tragedies

The Countryside Alliance has criticised a report which claims the public will be at risk from shooting tragedies unless the firearms licensing regime is overhauled.


A report published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) said the ‘current inconsistent and inadequate firearms licensing regime puts the public at risk’ and called for ‘clearer and more authoritative guidance’ in order to protect the public.

 

Many farmers have gun cabinets in their homes and any ramping up of inspections could lead to extra inspections.

 

But the report claimed lessons had not been learned from previous tragedies, such as the killing of 12 people by taxi driver Derrick Bird in Cumbria five years ago.

 

HMIC inspectors criticised current arrangements to assess the medical suitability of a firearms certificate holder or applicant, adding checks were less effective than those conducted on prospective bus or train drivers.


While the Countryside Alliance said it supported the development of a more effective licensing regime, it said the report failed to acknowledge the work done in recent years, particularly increased involvement of the medical profession in the licensing process.


The organisation’s chief executive Tim Bonner said: “Any incident which involves a gun is one too many, however, we already have some of the most stringent firearms regulations in the world. We work closely with the Home Office and other stakeholders and are fully supportive of any practical improvement in medical checks or any other aspect of the licensing process.”

 

 

Suggestions in the report

  • The Home Office should ensure licensing does not take place without a current medical report from the applicant’s GP and police are notified of any relevant changes of medical circumstances
  • This includes definitive guidance on contacting referees and on the police’s obligations around visiting prospective and current licence holders to inspect how firearms and ammunition are stored
  • The police must be given a legal right of entry to an applicant’s premises; something they do not currently have

 

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