An urgent notice on firearms licensing from the National Gamekeepers' Organisation (NGO) explains how GPs have been told to de-prioritise provision of firearms licensing letters

The Home Office has told GPs that they can de-prioritise the provision of firearms licensing letters in order to concentrate on Covid 19 booster vaccinations. This comes at a time when these letters have become mandatory for all certificate applications, both on initial grant and renewal.

The policy will result in greater delays and in some members having to lodge firearms and shotguns with dealers if they are unable to get renewal applications submitted to the police at least eight weeks prior to the expiry date.

The NGO urges all members to consider their renewal dates, and to commence the process of gathering the necessary information at least 16 to 18 weeks prior to the expiry date (even if the renewal reminder has not arrived from the police). The information and forms are now available online from your police force; find them by searching using the name of your force  e.g. ‘Devon and Cornwall Police firearms licensing.’

Having downloaded the forms, immediately discuss the provision of the GP letter with your GP practice. It is now your responsibility to get this letter completed and to forward it with your application. If your GP practice is unable to complete the letter in time or intend to charge an excessive amount, you may choose to use one of the alternative organisations who can do this for you. The NGO has checked with Medcert, who are aware of the situation and are gearing up to deal with the extra demand. NGO members can get a 10% discount on their fees by inserting the code NGO10 into the online discount box.

The NGO has replied to The Home Office pointing out the problems this will bring to its members, and has urged them to advise Police Forces that greater use of section 7 temporary permits may assist in genuine cases of difficulty.