The Home Office guide on firearms licensing law was updated on the 13 December 2021.
From 1 April 2016, information sharing processes between GPs and police have been introduced to ensure that people licensed to possess firearm and shotgun certificates are medically fit.
The Home Office Guide on the firearms licensing contains a section on medical information, and the British Medical Association, (BMA), has issued guidance for GPs about firearms licensing which may have an impact on our members applying for new or renewing licences.
The 2021 statutory guidance and the arrangements for medical checks for applications clearly sets the standards, clarifies the national process, and provides a unified approach for doctors and police forces to follow. This standard includes a clarification that it is the responsibility of the applicant to arrange for information on their medical suitability to be provided by their doctor to the police firearms licensing department dealing with their application. Chief officers of the police should use information provided by the registered doctor for every person who applies for either the grant or renewal of a firearm or shotgun certificate, or to be registered as a firearms dealer, to assess any medical suitability issues. The application form requires the applicant to declare relevant medical conditions.
When a person applies for a firearm or shotgun certificate or to be registered as a firearms dealer, the applicant will ask their doctor to complete a medical pro-forma to provide information to the police which will confirm whether the applicant is or has been diagnosed or treated for any relevant medical condition which could affect their ability to possess a firearm safely.
Responsibility for the decision about whether a person is suitable to be granted a certificate lies with the police, not the doctor.
It is for the applicant to arrange for the medical information to be sent to the police either with the application itself or, alternatively, direct from the doctor. An application for a certificate will not be granted without such medical information.
The BMA advice is that the reporting doctor will be unable to select the relevant information unless they have sight of the full medical record. When the reporting doctor has access to the entire record, it is then their responsibility to review and then pick out the relevant diagnoses for the firearms licensing application.
This is a key change as previously the Police allowed GPs to check the patient’s 10-year medical summary but now they require GPs to be able to see the patient’s full medical history.
We are happy to complete all requests for firearms licences for our members, but will only be able to attest to having full medical records from the time that the member has been registered with us. The police may request additional information from your prior GP as well.
Members may send all requests relating to medical reports for firearm licences and we will process them promptly.
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