More political shenanigans are afoot, it’s all smoke and mirrors, in an effort to get the populace to agree to the changes.
Sorry, I expect you are wondering what I’m talking about; well it’s the newly released Home Office public consultation on the increase in shotgun and firearms licence fees. Big business does it all the time, it will raise the price of items around October by say 10%. This is just long enough for the public to become acclimatised to the price, then say around the beginning of December they drop the price by 10%, claiming a special offer price for the Christmas period.
The timing on this consultation is not greatly different, released today, 27th November, it is offering prices to rise by varying amounts, but a renewal for a coterminous certificate will be offered at £65, a 30% increase on the current price of £50. This is in contrast to the press release earlier in the week by the shadow home secretary, of an increase to £200 for a certificate. It all boils down to either accept these proposals or you could end up with a fourfold increase.
Home Office consultation here valid from 27/11/2014 to 29/12/2014. I strongly urge everyone to complete the questionnaire.
We have a system of licencing in the UK, which on the whole works quite well, but it still treats owners with a criminal mentality. There are few countries in the world, to the best of my knowledge where you can legally purchase a firearm without a background check of some description. Yes, even the USA has background checks on firearms purchases, which are applicable wherever you buy your gun from, including gun shows! And here these checks are carried out when you get your licence. Now these checks, as with everything else cost money to undertake, so someone has to pay.
So the grant of a licence may be a little more expensive, but once granted, I can see no reason to go through the whole system when renewals are due. My reasoning; revocation of a licence by the police is as close to instantaneous as you are likely to get once any small transgression has been committed, or not in some cases. Owners are guilty until proved innocent and then it is not a guarantee that you will get your guns back. Pretty much if the police come to see you about anything, including driving offences, you lose your licence. So if they haven’t had cause to see you since they granted your licence, nothing will have changed, and therefore the background check will produce nothing.
So until the police get their house in order and work more efficiently, and are open about the management of the money obtained through licencing, I propose that increases may be necessary, but they should be kept to a bare minimum.