The Countryside Alliance has submitted a dossier of evidence to the Home Office team currently working on the medical procedures associated with firearms licensing, including case studies detailing the experiences of our members.
Home Office Minister Nick Hurd requested this information to collate a clearer overview of the service the shooting community receive from their GP’s. A Countryside Alliance statement said: “We sent a selection of the letters our members have received from their GPs, requesting fees as high as £155. We submitted a letter a member had received from their MP, confirming that their local police force had characterised the implementation of the medical procedure as “hit or miss”.”
This follows correspondence with police forces which highlights the fact that regardless of whether a fee is paid, there is no guarantee that medical procedures are being undertaken. Data provided by Guns on Pegs and Strutt and Parker showed that a quarter of all renewals and applications were charged a fee by their GP despite current Home Office guidance stipulating this stage of the process should be free.
The Countryside Alliance statement added: “Only 16 per cent had actually paid [to renew]. We highlighted the fact that if 25 per cent were being charged yet 16 per cent were paying, that means almost one in ten applicants are receiving a bill, quite rightly not paying it, and receiving their certificate regardless. In our view it is highly likely that the records of these applicants are not being checked and the encoded marker is not being applied.”
Head of Campaigns, Liam Stokes concluded: “Now we have highlighted the widely varying service being received by the shooting community, we have requested the Government update us on what is going to be done to ensure that improvements to public safety are delivered and that applicants and renewals will receive a fair and consistent service.”