The following has been received from our good friends at the Counrtyside Alliance. If you are in the process of applying or renewing your certificate/s, it may help to read it!
A lot has changed since our last blog on the new medical system for firearms licensing, posted back in June. As such we want to update our members, especially those in the process of being granted or renewing a firearm or shotgun licence.
Since July the British Medical Association (BMA) has updated their guidelines on firearms licensing, stating that all medical forms sent to GPs by the police regarding the health of a firearm certificate applicant should be returned unanswered. The resulting situation is similar to that which existed pre-April, with no initial check of medical records and no continuous monitoring, both of which the BMA agreed to as part of the Medical Evidence Working Group (MEWG).
The Countryside Alliance believes this new medical system will improve firearms licensing and safety, potentially providing further justification for a future move to 10 year licences. Unfortunately the BMA’s u-turn has effectively signalled to GPs that they do not have to act in the best interests of the licence applicant, and rather than simply return the police letters unanswered many GPs are in fact attempting to charge their patients for completing initial check. This is happening despite the fact that all participants in the MEWG agreed this initial check should be done free of charge.
A further source of concern is the wording of the new BMA guidelines. Not only are they refusing to participate in the new (and previously agreed) system, they are telling their members to refuse the system by claiming a ‘conscientious objection to gun ownership’, a truly outrageous position with no basis in the BMA’s own employment ethics. The Countryside Alliance have written to the BMA twice requesting clarification and have yet to receive a response. We will be pursuing this further.
The current situation is not working, causing confusion among applicants for firearm and shotgun licences and leaving the BMA isolated from the other members of the MEWG. We will continue to push for a working system that benefits the shooting community and the general public.