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BMA continues to seek fair firearms licensing process

GP sat at desk arms folded
SAFE AND FAIR: The BMA has sought to reduce uncertainty for GPs around fireams licensing

The BMA is continuing to work with the Home Office to improve licensing rules around firearms.

That is the message from doctors leaders who have issued new guidance for GPs on firearms certification.

The BMA published the guidance online following a new system being introduced by the Government last year – and doctors can find information particularly on how to respond to an initial request from police firearms licensing officers.

In April last year new information sharing processes between GPs and the police were introduced in an attempt to ensure those licensed to possess firearm and shotgun certificates are medically fit to carry arms.

The BMA had significant concerns about the arrangements and continues to raise them with the Home Office with the aim of agreeing a process that is fair to GPs in particular, and doctors in general, and safe for the wider public.

Discussions are ongoing and any future improvements may necessitate the revision of this guidance.

The guidance includes advice on the current system and takes into account doctors leaders’ discussions with the Home Office, the police and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, as well as external legal advice.

BMA firearms task and finish group lead Mark Sanford-Wood said: ‘The new firearm licence arrangements have caused significant concern among GPs who have found themselves in a confused and uncertain situation as to how they should proceed.

‘At a time when general practice is under unprecedented pressure, GPs need clarity, especially as the work involved in this area for each individual application can be onerous and requires the charging of a fee to cover administration so that funding is not diverted away from patient care.’

The current system requires local constabularies to assess applicants for firearms licences.

Find out more about the firearms guidance

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