BSSC expects doom and gloom for lawful shooting by year’s end

An internal British Shooting Sports Council report, seen by UK Shooting News, reveals that licensing fees are set to increase again, there will be more intrusive involvement of GPs in the firearms licensing process, and the Home Office approval criteria for rifle clubs will change in the near future.

As part of the settlement on firearms licensing fees earlier this year, provision was made for them to be increased annually. Accordingly, the BSSC report said “there will be a review of firearms fees at the end of the year.” There was no detail on the size of the inevitable hike.

In terms of medical involvement in the licensing process, the report stated “ministers had given the go-ahead in principle to greater GP involvement in firearms licensing,” while warning that “implementation will be delayed beyond October because of computer-related problems and issues over fees for GPs’ services.”

“Shooting organizations are pressing for a recommended fee [and] a further meeting is planned for the 8th September,” it concluded. Police forces are keen to shift the costs of obtaining medical reports onto shooters rather than paying for reports they themselves commission. Shooting organisations have been pushing back against this initiative.

Meanwhile, the BSSC also reported on the HMIC inspection of police firearms licensing departments. Although this is not due to report back until September, the outlook is not promising for the licensed firearms community. According to the BSSC, the inspection concentrated on “discussions with Coroners and victims’ families, domestic abuse, GP involvement in licensing, the use of the National Decision Model, input to the licensing process from partners, revocations and ‘good reason’.”

The Home Office Guide on firearms licensing law has been rewritten so many times recently that even the police are struggling to follow it, it seems. The Continuity ACPO firearms licensing group, which, unusually, met at Bisley, considered “how best to flag up changes to the text” of the Guide whenever it is updated. At present updates are released by the Home Office with no notice and no indication of what has changed, which makes it unnecessarily difficult to discern what official thinking du jour is on particular topics.

Other items covered in the report included the EU’s review of its own firearms diktats, the collapse of the Lead Ammunition Group – in particular, how its paper on human health “had been written by two ornithologists rather than a medical doctor or a toxicologist” – and the UN’s attempts to tighten up its Arms Trade Treaty, which would have a significant impact on civilian use of firearms.

Simon Hart MP also spoke to the BSSC’s standing committee on countryside sports, giving an overview of the political landscape for countryside sports.

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14 thoughts on “BSSC expects doom and gloom for lawful shooting by year’s end

  1. DNA Cowboy

    Surrey plod has been interfering in medical matters since at least 2010 when they told me that they had spoken to my doctor and that ‘everything was ok’, when I asked why had they contacted my GP about my STOMACH surgery and how that would impact on my right to hold a firearms licence? my FAO remained silent. I think we need to start re-defining these attempts as discrimination, for far too long have we been cowed by plod because we don’t want to lsoe our tickets but it looks like they are collaborating to take that right off us so we need to act and soon.

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    1. Gaz Corfield Post author

      The worrying thing is that the police are using the coerced “you have my permission to access my medical records” thing to go on entirely unrelated fishing expeditions through medical histories. There are no published guidelines, standards or controls on what they rifle through and, short of having all our NHS data destroyed, there is no way to check or control what they’re poring through. We’re under more police surveillance than sex offenders – yet we are the most law-abiding of all sections of society.

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  2. missbovril

    I have just been granted my first SGC and that took nine MONTHS via Kent Police. I had to pay(£10) for a report from my GP who at first refused to write one as he doesn’t believe in guns and shooting. I had to threaten to take the matter further before he relented and gave a report which said nothing. How many GPs have this attitude towards guns and shooting? Giving GPs more involvment in the process is worrying

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    1. DNA Cowboy

      Your GP doesn’t like ‘guns and shooting’? More like ‘covering my arse’, disgraceful discrimination.

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  3. Patricia Charlton

    I have worked all my life and pay my taxes yet the changes they want to make means I have to pay more for GP info as not to charge the taxpayer for this. Hello … How many people with firearms already pay their taxes so why should we pay again this is people with no understanding trying to take our rights away I thought we lived in a free country. However is ok for police to be armed and lose their guns in fact they have lost more guns than the general public but they and the government want to take this right away from us. It’s funny how the PM is protected by police with firearms and the ex PMs are protected in this way so guns are fine when they are being protected but not good for the general public they need to invest more in criminals using weapons rather than yet again going after law abiding citizens.

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  4. Gavin Hunter

    Maybe a fac / sgc mandatory course thrown in , Countryside management & the effects of shooting , blended with firearms safety, would be a better . The licensing authoroties seem to be handing out firearms licences & shogun licences for fun, with no actual proof (other than a letter by ‘anyone’ with land ) of handling / countryside management or safety necessary !

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    1. Iain

      Sorry Gavin, but what are you on? The licensing authorities may be many things, but cavalier in the handing out of “licences” isn’t one of them. If you have evidence, please provide. Otherwise …

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    2. Paul

      You obviously dont hold anything in the means of any firearms certificate and you’ve never been through the process. So my advice would be is if you have no living clue what you’re going on about (Which you clearly dont) best thing would be to say nothing.

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  5. Robert Sandison

    This will deter gun owners from seeking medical treatment for stress and depression meaning their condition could well get whorse leading potentialy to a situation everybody wants to avoid .Another thing why are car owners for example not subjected to a similar vetting.

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  6. Paul

    The authorities simply cant be bothered to chase any real criminals, they’re to busy being paid off by them and spending all their budget on wrecking the lives of legal law abiding gun owners, This is why there’s now been 15 shootings in just Manchester alone from March 2014 to last Sunday.

    As for GPS making decisions, lol. Who is Britain’s worst serial killer in human history again?? oh yeh. It was a doctor. Shall I tie all them with the same brush aswell?

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  7. DNA Cowboy

    I have just consulted my GP who represents the BMA in shooting matters and when you tick the box that you authorise the police to contact your gp that essentially authorises complete access to your medical records, in other word’s you lose your confidentiality.

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  8. Some Random Chap

    There’s just no respite, is there? It really is never enough for the Police. It’s enough to make you cry.

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