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Home Office review of Guidance to the Police on Firearms Law

posted 31 Jul 2013, 15:29 by Historical Breechloading Smallarms Association UK   [ updated 17 Aug 2013, 09:44 ]
As members may be aware a Home Office review of Guidance to the Police on Firearms Law has been taking place and is still ongoing.

HBSA has been, and is, much involved in what is a long and complex process. Certain Chapters are now completed and members can view them using the link shown.

A list of issues that cannot be changed in Guidance because of current legislation, is being logged for future review.

If there are questions or comments members are asked to address them to the Chairman and Secretary by email rather than use the forum. 

Please note that the following chapters of the Home Office firearms guide have now been published on the gov.uk website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/firearms-law-guidance-to-the-police-2012
The published chapters are:

Chapter 2 - Definition and classification of firearms and ammunition
Chapter 3 - Prohibited firearms and ammunition
Chapter 4 - Expanding ammunition
Chapter 5 - Restrictions on the possession, handling, and distribution of firearms and ammunition
Chapter 8- Antique firearms
Chapter 9 - Historic handguns
Chapter 10 - Firearm certificate procedure
Chapter 11 - Shotgun certificate procedure
Chapter 12 - Assessing suitability (formerly fitness to be entrusted with a firearm)
Chapter 13 – Good reason to possess a firearm
Chapter 14: Law on shooting birds and animals
Chapter 22: Criminal use of firearms
Chapter 24: Proof of firearms
Chapter 26: Northern Ireland

Some key changes to note are:

a)     Chapter 9 on historic handguns. We have included text to reflect that historic may also mean more recent history such as weapons used in Afghanistan or Iraq.

b)    Chapters 10 and 11. Emphasised importance of ongoing risk assessments and the importance of taking a risk-based approach. We are also silent on who should pay for GPs fees. PCCs have been added to the list of those not suitable as referees or counter signatories. 

c)     Chapter 12 has been completely rewritten and the title has changed from ‘Fitness to be entrusted with a firearm’ to ‘Assessing suitability’. These changes address the concerns from HASC and the IPCC that the same considerations of fitness in relation to firearms are relevant when considering whether someone applying for a shotgun may pose a risk to public safety. Chapter 12 also includes the new section on domestic violence, which was published separately on 31 July and received substantive media coverage.

d)    Chapter 13 has been amended to include ‘any other lawful quarry’ condition which states that once initial “good reason” has been established for the possession of a firearm, there is no requirement for “good reason” to be demonstrated for additional quarry species, providing the firearms are not underpowered for the species. This will reduce administrative burden on police licensing departments. The chapter also now addresses the issue of armed guards and ‘home loading’ of ammunition.