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As of 1 April 2016 a new procedure comes into force, led by the Home Office, which will mean the continuous monitoring of health issues for firearms and shotgun certificate holders
As of 1 April 2016 a new procedure comes into force, led by the Home Office, which will mean the continuous monitoring of health issues for firearms and shotgun certificate holders; the stated intention is to reduce the risk of a medically unfit person gaining possession of a firearm.
The system will allow closer cooperation between the police force and general practitioners (GPs). It will make it easier for GPs to draw attention to any relevant medical condition that may be cause for concern during the lifetime of the certificate, and will ensure the GP is aware of the fact that their patient holds a certificate.
If a medical condition that may affect the holder’s fitness to possess a firearm arises midway through the certificate life, GPs will be prompted to contact the police firearms licensing department. The current medical issues of concern, and the reasons the police ask for medical certificates, will not be altered by the new system.
Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, Tim Bonner commented: “The Countryside Alliance has sat on the medical evidence working group since its origin. We have been searching for an improvement to the system that would have minimal impact on the majority of certificate holders but help to prevent those rare occurrences when failure to detect health concerns has led to a risk to public safety. We hope that this process of continuous monitoring can pave the way towards a longer certificate life which will reduce the burden on police forces.
“With the full cooperation of certificate holders, GPs and police forces, we can see this system being a success. However, and vitally, there will be a review of the project after six months and another after a year, to make sure any issues that may arise can be straightened out.”
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