The big idea
My proposal is to seek the repeal of the 1968 Fierarms Act and its ammendments. A new Firearms Act is long overdue. Not simply to tinker and ammend but to look for the best legislation. They have proved outdated and not fit for purpose. The current legislation and its 2002 guidance are both draconian and lax, but not logical. It is my role, for a Constabulary to use this Act to licence certificate holders. The ammendments especially are without doubt pure reactive legislation, which as can be seen by recent events have failed to adequatley protect the public in general or the shooting community.
Proposals for a new Act could include such matters as;
- A single certificate rather than the current two
- Provision to licence people not the firearms
- Introduction of statutory accredited training courses in order to support applications
- Statutory reporting by GP's of illnesses, injuries or medications which might affect continued holding of a certificate
- Introduction of review panels to deal with appeals against revocation or refusal by Chief Constables. Rather than the current use of Crown Courts.
- Formalise to a national standard for training and operation of Firearms Licensing Officers/Management.
- To provide a time limited certificate suspension, rather than revocation of a certificate as the only option in circumstances that require investigation.
- Provide fixed penalties for minor offences and or formal cautions.
- To revisit Lord Cullen's report to review the return of handguns for target shooting.
- The provision of a national body to oversea Firearms Licensing.
- Statutory self reporting by certificate holders of certain life changing events which might affect short or long term gun ownership
- To provide a debate on new legislation by a body, having specialised knowledge and for that body to be the only forum to provide future legislation to the Home Secretary.
- To provide a better understanding of how implementation can be achieved calling on the input of the practitioners not just the representative bodies. Shooting is a practical issue and should not be legislated upon for political capitol or furtherance of organisational standing.
Whilst this is only a flavour of a Future Firearms Act much could be achieved.
Why does this matter?
The current act and guidance does not provide safety for anyone, from the Constabulary's who are damned if they do and dammed if they don't. Through to the member of the public who might be threatened by an out of control neighbour. The shooting community in all its guises are viewed in a jaundice manner, due to lack of understanding and ill informed, sensationalised press coverage.
In order to implement the Act in its current form is inefficient and costly to certificate holders, Constabulary's and the Home Office.
A new Act would provide much greater safeguards for the public.
Increase revenues through Change.
Integrate the knowledge of the Law abiding firearm holders into the fight against gun crime and illegal guns by not making them feel criminalised.