In April 2016 new guidelines for the licensing of firearms to private individuals were introduced in the UK that provoked significant concerns from GPs. Since this time, BMA’s GP Committee have worked at a national level to clarify the situation for doctors and give them the guidance they need to respond safely and professionally to enquiries relating to patients. In 2019, a memorandum of understanding was signed by the Home Office and National Police Chiefs Council recognising that whilst the legal responsibility for monitoring firearms holders rests with the police, doctors should use reasonable endeavours to support the process.
The proper regulation of firearms is in the public interest and GPs should respond to initial correspondence within 21 days; to provide the factual information requested or to inform the police of their professional and/or ethical position. Failure to respond could put GPs at professional risk.
Template letters, further guidance and updates are available here:
At a local level, the LMC also acts to support our members to engage in the firearms certification process in a way that fits their circumstances. Please contact us if you have any specific queries or need assistance when liaising with the local constabulary regarding a request.