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New firearms licensing policy

September 13, 2018
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Nottinghamshire Police is committed to ensuring the safety of the members of the public and of gun users with changes to the firearms licensing system.

With immediate effect every person who applies for a new firearms, shotgun or explosives licence will be required to provide medical information verified by a GP.

The new requirement will also apply to renewals of licenses with effect from those certificates expiring from 3 December 2018.The change is being implemented to enable Nottinghamshire Police to make informed decisions which will protect both gun users and the wider public.

Current Home Office guidance states that if a police force does not receive a response to their request for medical information from the applicant’s GP, they should assume there are no medical issues and grant the applicant a licence.

This means that across the country, licences to hold a firearm or shotgun are routinely granted without medical information being obtained by the police or consideration given to health issues that may increase risk to gun ownership.

The force currently has more than 10,000 licences throughout Nottinghamshire and this new requirement to ensure medical documentation is provided, follows Lincolnshire, Kent and Merseyside Police who have also made the policy changes.

Assistant Chief Constable Kate Meynell said: “This new approach will give greater protection to the residents of Nottinghamshire.  Individuals who due to medical conditions that are unsuitable to access and possess firearms, will no longer be able to do so.

“It will also allow us to have a greater understanding of those with a firearms licence. Previously if an applicant failed to provide medical information, an assumption was made, that they were safe to use firearms. We are no longer prepared to accept that risk. “Our priority will always be to ensure the safety of everyone within Nottinghamshire.  We believe these changes enable us to achieve this”

Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping said: “The public has a right to expect that people applying for a firearms licence have accurately disclosed medical information that may influence the decision to grant it or not.  The safety of both the public and the licence holder is the top priority and this move will help the Licencing Team determine whether a licence should be approved.”

Nottinghamshire Local Medical Committee (LMC) Chief Executive Michael Wright represents GPs in the county.

He said: “We feel that the new approach in Nottinghamshire is safer in that firearms license applicants and existing holders are checked for conditions that may provoke concerns about their suitability to hold firearms.

“This clearly wasn’t previously the case for all holders of firearms. It is important, however, to note that this is work that is not paid for through the NHS and so GPs will need to charge applicants for any work in relation to this area.”

For more information on the changes of the policy and to find out details of how to apply for a firearms licence please visit: https://www.nottinghamshire.police.uk/advice/firearms

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