Firearms Licensing Update (October 2018)
From October 1st Kent Police will be using the new process I have described here previously for renewals as well as first time applications.
As a reminder it is simply a list of questions about the medical history which can be answered yes or no apart from the final question which asks if there is any other reason why the patient should not hold a firearms licence. How you answer this is an individual preference but it does require a judgement call so answering ‘I am unable to answer this question’ could be reasonable.
As there are 27,000 licences in Kent and each lasts 5 years it means there will be about 5,400 renewals per year or about one a fortnight for each practice in Kent (assumes all practices same size and demography).
Licence holders get their first reminder 16 weeks before expiry, then another with 8 weeks to go and a final reminder with 4 weeks left on the licence. If a licence is not renewed the holder gets an 8 week grace period at the end of which the firearm is considered to be illegally held and will be confiscated by the police.
It is the licence holder’s duty to obtain a medical report and to meet the fee levied by the GP or practice providing the service.
If this service is not provided by your practice the patient will need to find another GP who can provide the report and with consent that colleague will need to obtain the medical records via a subject access request (SAR). If you know of local colleagues who may provide this service on your behalf I suggest this fact is advertised via the practice web site and notices in the waiting room.
If you or your practice is prepared to provide firearms licensing reports to patients who are not registered with your practice the LMC are considering advertising this on our website to assist licence holders and to allow the police to signpost queries to sympathetic GPs. Please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if this applies to you.
Kent LMC Medical Secretary