New firearms guidance issued by the Home Office aims to crack down on domestic violence by preventing those with violent histories from obtaining firearms or shotgun licences – with partner checks a central aspect of police scrutiny of applicants.

The guidance says every incident of domestic violence should prompt a review of whether a licence holder should continue to be allowed to hold firearms, describes partner interviews as “essential” and says interviews with friends, family and associates may be required too.

Police would not have to rely on a criminal conviction for domestic violence when considering applications.

Shooting organisations reacted with praise for the new guidance. Countryside Alliance shooting campaign manager Adrian Blackmore said: “The shooting community supports the strengthening of the guidance in respect of domestic violence, and particularly welcomes the Home Office advice that decisions should be based on evidence rather than hearsay.  This is a vital factor.”

Speaking on Radio 4’s PM programme, BASC’s Mike Eveleigh said: “At last the system has been codified.

“We have 42 different police forces and largely they have been acting in their own ways. This will help to have some consistency in this area.”

Minister for Policing Damian Green said: “This new Home Office guidance clearly sets out a process which police forces should follow when considering an application from someone with a history of domestic violence.

“It should also ensure the views and experiences of victims of domestic abuse are carefully and sensitively taken into account.”


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