The British Association for Shooting and Conservation has published an academic paper setting out the case for extending the life of firearm and shotgun certificates to ten years, citing improvements in police surveillance technology as justification.
BASC’s white paper goes into some detail about why now is the right time to move to a ten year certificate, explaining how improvements in police databases, notification times and law changes since the 1980s as good reasons for smoothing out the licensing cycle and easing police workloads.
“The fact that there is a maximum certificate length (five years) suggests there is a belief held by some that the longer an individual holds a certificate, the greater their risk to public and personal safety; if risk was not perceived to change through time there would be no maximum certificate duration,” writes BASC’s author, who adds:
In fact, given the modern system of police intelligence gathering and sharing, the duration of a certificate becomes immaterial as the suitability of its holder is under constant review, so risk remains continually low.
A move to extend a 10 year life to 50% of FACs and SGCs would, says BASC, smooth out the current peaks and troughs in the licensing system caused by the extension of certificate “life” from 3 years to 5 years back in the 1990s.
The full paper can be downloaded from the BASC website.