Medical History to Be Checked as Britain Tightens Rules for Gun Licences

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Police volition person to cheque someone’s aesculapian past earlier issuing a weapon licence successful the aftermath of the wide shooting successful Plymouth, the UK Government has confirmed.

From Nov. 1, each firearms applications indispensable beryllium accompanied by a aesculapian papers signed by a registered, practising doctor, the Home Office said.

New statutory guidance published connected Wednesday sets retired however immoderate applicable wellness records—particularly immoderate accusation connected intelligence health, neurological conditions, and substance abuse—will person to beryllium reviewed arsenic portion of the process.

It means police, for the archetypal time, volition beryllium legally required to travel the guidance to assistance amended standards and consistency crossed forces successful the UK.

Police person besides been told to reappraisal an applicant’s societal media accounts and fiscal past arsenic good arsenic transportation retired home unit checks successful cases wherever officers judge much grounds is needed earlier authorizing a licence.

The Home Office said: “Background checks which tin beryllium conducted by the constabulary are already extensive, spanning everything from transgression convictions and erstwhile run-ins with the law, to grounds of home turmoil, un-managed debt, oregon adjacent dishonesty.

“Existing laws besides necessitate a location sojourn by the constabulary for first-time applicants, to guarantee they person utmost assurance successful an individual’s suitability to ain a weapon with nary hazard to public. Two credible referees for a firearm and 1 for a shotgun indispensable beryllium provided earlier a licence tin beryllium issued.”

Jake Davison Undated record photograph of Jake Davison, posted connected his Facebook page. (Jake Davison/Facebook/PA)

Jake Davison, 22, killed 5 radical successful the Keyham country of the Devon larboard metropolis earlier this twelvemonth earlier turning the weapon connected himself.

The apprentice crane relation had received intelligence wellness enactment during the COVID-19 lockdown from a section telephone helpline.

His societal media usage suggested an obsession with “incel” culture, meaning “involuntary celibate,” arsenic good arsenic an involvement successful guns.

Questions stay implicit however helium was permitted to person a firearms licence.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating the determination by the Devon and Cornwall unit to instrumentality Davison’s shotgun certificate and limb to him.

They had been seized successful December past twelvemonth pursuing an battle allegation the erstwhile September and were returned to him successful July.

Although the UK has immoderate of the toughest firearms laws successful the world, Home Secretary Priti Patel said “we indispensable ne'er go complacent astir these precocious standards,” adding, “This caller guidance prioritizes nationalist information supra each other and we person taken sizeable attraction to guarantee it is broad and enforceable, having worked intimately with the medical, policing, and shooting sectors.”

The British Medical Association, which helped make the guidance, said it makes wide doctors are liable for providing aesculapian grounds but the constabulary unit volition marque the last determination connected issuing the licence.

The organisation’s Dr. Mark Sanford-Wood said, “As doctors we enactment the Government’s wide message—that weapon ownership is simply a privilege and not a right—and that firearms indispensable beryllium successful the hands of lone those who are deemed harmless and responsible.”

Debbie Tedds, the Chief Constable for Warwickshire Police who leads the National Police Chiefs’ Councils’ enactment connected firearms licensing, welcomed the guidance and said, “Policing instrumentality this substance incredibly earnestly and immoderate advancement connected the already extended checks volition assistance to guarantee that lone those who are harmless to transportation a firearms licence volition person one.”

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) said portion the guidance “will let applicants to take who completes their aesculapian verification if their GP states they are opposed to shooting oregon insists connected excessive fees,” they warned that “flaws remain” successful the process and urged the Government to “listen again to those who privation a pragmatic, cost-efficient licensing strategy that is acceptable for purpose.”

By Flora Thompson

PA

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