A working group composed of shooting organisations, police and Home Office figures will meet again in the New Year to discuss the first annual firearm and shotgun certificate fee rise, policing minister Mike Penning has confirmed.
Responding to a parliamentary question from Jim Shannon, the DUP MP for Strangford in Northern Ireland, Penning said:
“The Firearms Fees Working Group will be reconvened in the New Year to oversee the first annual review and representative members will be invited to attend.”
Shannon also asked whether Home Secretary Theresa May had met any representatives of the licensed firearms community to discuss fees; Penning replied: “There have not been any recent ministerial discussions with shooting organisations on the cost of firearm licences.”
The Firearms Fees Working Group was first formed in October 2013. According to a British Shooting Sports Council report from that year, the group’s task was “to take a detailed look into the work of firearms licensing offices to determine precisely which activities should be included in the calculation of firearms fees.”
It is likely that that remit has since expanded to cover how much fees should be and by how much they should be jacked up each year.
Regular UK Shooting News readers will remember that Chief Constable Andy Marsh, the UK’s top firearms licensing cop, unsuccessfully tried to have the cost of a firearm certificate grant quadrupled from £50 to £200, even personally heading up a media campaign against the licensed firearms community in his bid to use shooters as a police cash cow. The Home Office later approved a rise to £88, but with an ‘enabling clause’ permitting annual rises.
There has been no mention of a cap on fee rises so far.