To Shoot Or Not To Shoot – That Is The Question – But What Is The Answer?

2 September 2016

The British Medical Association (BMA) has recently advised its members to refuse work certifying firearms licence holders as safe to own guns.  This is the latest part of a long saga between shooters and the medical association, dating back to April when a new requirement was introduced for shooters to give details of their current GP practice and include all practices registered with over the previous ten years.  GPs are required to add a coded reminder to the shooter’s medical records and asked to notify police if any conditions arise that could affect the shooters safety to hold firearms. 

Reports have now begun to emerge of GPs charging for this service, against the advice given by

The British Association for Shooting & Conservation (BASC) who had welcomed the new requirement and “commitment from the Home Office to the development of a sensible, pragmatic solution “as they supported the move towards 10-year certification and enhanced public safety.

In a turn around, the BMA have escalated the conflict advising GPs who receive letters from the police requesting information about a shooter to state “they are unable to undertake the work due to a lack of funding or “for a conscientious objection to gun ownership”.

It also encourages GPs to stop shooters “When there is a reasonable belief that an individual either applying for a firearm or shotgun license or already holding one, may represent a danger to themselves or others, we strongly advise doctors to encourage the applicant to reconsider or revoke their application.  If the applicant refuses, you should consider breaching normal confidentiality and inform the police licensing department as a matter of urgency”

The BASC advised those applying for certificates that this should be in accordance with the agreement between medical representatives and the government that no fee should be payable.  This was agreed with representatives on all sides as part of a Home Office working group which produced guidelines for medical involvement in firearms licencing. 

The BASC now advises shooters to not pay the fee and should your doctor refuse to participate without a fee, the letter from police states that if no response is received to the contrary, within a period of 21 days it will be assumed there are no medical issues.

Is this another sign of the political world going mad and will discourage the initial aim of building on accountability and protection for all?

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