‘Gun code’ added to medical records

As of 1 April, changes have been implemented to the firearms licensing process that are set to include notifications of gun ownership for doctors.

These changes come in response to recommendations put forwards by coroners, medical professionals and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). The new system allows GPs to place encoded markers on licensees’ medical records to prompt doctors to consider contacting police in the event of health concerns that affect firearms possession.

Essex Police ran a pilot of the scheme, involving more than 7,000 firearms owners. The results of the pilot were deemed highly successful, and it was only necessary to consult GPs in less than two per cent of licensing applications.

BASC has welcomed the changes, viewing it as a step closer to the potential adoption of 10-year certificates. BASC also pointed out that the new system is preferable to a previously considered suggestion where an applicant would have to pay for their GPs to approve a self-declaration medical form.

“BASC welcomes the commitment of the Home Office to the development of a sensible and pragmatic solution,” said Gary Ashton, BASC’s director of firearms.

For more information on the changes, check the government guidance page at  www.gov.uk/guidance/firearms-licensing-police-guidance

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