SOSP&RC Newsletter

Stourport On Severn Pistol & Rifle Club Newsletter

November 2019 Newsletter

There is a lot going on in the world right now.  Brexit / No Brexit - No Election / Election - Resignations and accusations.  

Welcome to November!  Hopefully at least the weather will improve, and we can get some autumn shooting in.

Maybe this chap had the right idea after all ..........


Subscription: Your subscription will be due by the end of December 2019. These are payable by cheque, BACS or cash.

November Events

Sunday 3rd   -   Guest Day - A & B Ranges
Guest Forms & Visitor Badges from Secretary

Sunday 17th - Turning Targets - B Range - 0930

September Events

Inter-Club Bench Rest Competition
Saturday 28th September

The competition went really well, and some great scores were achieved especially in the windy conditions.

Results were as follows:

1st Place          -           Jim       -     95

2nd Place         -           Colin    -     93

3rd Place          -           Adam   -    91

4th Place          -           Fred     -    90

The results were all very close, which makes for great competitive shooting.

The visiting clubs were over the moon with the range, and to top it off with paint balls you could hear the laughter all down the range when they hit one, Martyn from Eley presented the trophy and provided support with pens, baseball caps etc.  Eley will put a report of the day in the Eley magazine with photos. I would like to thank you and the committee for letting me run this popular shooting competition for club members and hope to do it again next year.

Jim

UKPSA Winter Postal Competitions

The UKPSA is expected to run a Winter Postal Competition again this year.

This is usually 13 stages - relatively simple but designed to test accuracy, skills - and stamina!

If you are interested in taking part in this competition please email:

sprcpractical@gmail.com

for details and to register your interest.


Eley Speed Steels

The Eley Speed Steels competition completed Round 3 with a visit by Kurt and Maria Grimes.  Kurt is a World Champion and Grand Master, and not only ran a training Masterclass, but also spent the day coaching and advising shooters and giving a demonstration of how to improve your times on the Speed Steels stages.

The winners received their cheques, presented by Kurt


SHOOTING & TRAINING

Click on the More info link below to find out the latest news from Shooting & Training Division.

To get in touch, please call 01483 797 777 x 160,139,146,149 or email: shooting@nra.org.uk

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RANGE SERVICES

Click on the More info link below to find out the latest news from the Range Office.

To get in touch with Rick Wells, please call 01483 797 777 x 182 or email: richard.wells@nra.org.uk

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MEMBERSHIP

Click on the More info link below to find out the latest news from Membership.

To get in touch with the Membership Team, please call 01483 797 777 x 122, 138, 142, 162 or email: membership@nra.org.uk

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NRA DISCIPLINES

Click on the link below to find out the latest news from the NRA Discipline Reps.

To find out more about any NRA discipline, please email: disciplines@nra.org.uk

Report on West Mercia & Warwickshire Firearms & Explosives Licencing Independent Advisory Group Meeting on 11th July 2019

Licencing

As you should be aware, the turnaround times for licences has been very good over the last couple of years and the licencing department finally started treating licence holders as “customers”. Average time for new firearms licences is now 42 days, renewals 52 days. For shotguns it is 50 days for new applications, 49 for renewals. However, for variations it is just 9 days – indeed if you go in person to Malvern, they will often do it on the spot.

In September, their new web-based licencing / renewals is due to start. Yes, you will be able to do it (including payments) on the net with the forms filled in on screen. If you make a mistake, it should flag this up as well. Now the bad news, it is all likely to go bad from October. Warwickshire and West Mercia joined forces some years ago to do firearms licencing for the four counties they cover. It has undoubtedly worked well, so they are going to change it! They are getting a divorce, i.e. splitting up again even though all people attending said “if it isn’t broke, why fix it?” Whilst West Mercia will remain with their department at Malvern, Warwickshire don’t know where they will be located and have not arranged for the new computer systems they will need.

Add to the mix that the Superintendent in charge has just retired, so temporarily his roll will be taken over by Chief Inspector Ed Williams until someone else fills the post. The new firearms manager (ex-policeman) was offered a post with the National Crime Agency and took it. The new firearms manager is Becky Williams, who seems quite clued up, but time will tell. When asked if there was a contingency plan in case the split of the two forces causes firearms licencing to hit the fan, the response was “No”.

As previously advised, we are all aware of the problems of getting GP letters – some charge for these, others do not even bother to respond. The police took the common sense attitude that if they request a letter from your GP and there is no reply within 21 days, they were assuming everything is OK. This is still working well, but if any club members have problems over GP letters, please let me know.

It is hoped that licence turnaround times do not start going backwards again, but those who come under Warwickshire may experience problems due to the split of the two forces. Coupled with the new online licencing / renewals starting only a month before the split, it does not bode well,

As ever, if you have difficulties over licences or renewals, please contact me and I will see what I can do to help.

ROY SMITH

rlsworcs@yahoo.co.uk

Below is some information on the new guidance on Firearms Licensing.  If you would like to view the full document email sprcnewsletter@gmail.com for a copy. 

Statutory guidance to police on firearms licensing

Government consultation. This consultation begins on 23 July 2019.This consultation ends on 17 September 2019

Scope of the consultation

Topic of the consultation: this consultation seeks views on draft statutory guidance for the police on firearms licensing, including proposed new arrangements for medical checks of applicants for firearms certificates.

Scope of consultation: this consultation seeks public views on how best to ensure that the police carry out their firearms licensing functions in an appropriate manner. The Government will conduct a consultation with the National Police Chiefs Council and the chief constable of Police Scotland, as required by the legislation, alongside this consultation.

Geographical scope: England, Wales and Scotland.

Draft guidance and impact assessment: Available at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/statut...

Basic information

To: This consultation is open to the public.

Duration: This consultation lasts for eight weeks and closes on 17 September 2019

Enquiries: firearmsconsultations@homeoffice.gov.uk

How to Respond: Information on how to respond to this consultation can be found on www.gov.uk

Responses should be submitted by completing the online consultation form. Alternatively, the form can be downloaded as a Microsoft Word document and the response sent by email to firearmsconsultations@homeoffice.gov.uk

or by post to:

Firearms: Statutory Guidance Consultation

Serious Violence Unit

Home Office

5th Floor Fry Building, 2 Marsham Street London SW1P 4DF

Additional ways to become involved:

Please contact the Home Office (as above) if you require information in any other format, such as Braille, large font or audio.

After the consultation:

Responses will be analysed and a ‘response to consultation’ document will be published.

Introduction

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) carried out an inspection of police firearms licensing departments in 2014-15, including an assessment of whether police forces were following the existing Home Office “Guide on Firearms Licensing Law”1. Their report, published on 15 September 2015, found that forces were not always following the guide, resulting in inconsistent application of the law2. HMICFRS recommended the introduction of simplified guidance which carries the weight of the law to facilitate consistent application and enforcement by police, and that when applicants challenge a police decision to refuse or revoke their certificate, the courts should take into account the same considerations as the police.

The Government acted on these recommendations and the Policing and Crime Act 2017 makes provision for the Home Secretary to issue statutory guidance to the police on their firearms licensing functions. The police will have a duty to have regard to the guidance when they exercise their firearms licensing functions. The new statutory guidance will apply to existing safeguards relating to firearms ownership, such as police background checks or the criteria around applicants with a history of domestic violence. The draft guidance also contains new proposals on the arrangements for assessing the medical suitability of applicants.

The intention of the proposed guidance is to ensure the highest standards of public safety are maintained in the firearms licensing process, and to improve consistency between police forces and in court when licensing decisions are appealed. Firearms owners who pose no risk to public safety will continue to be granted firearm and shotgun certificates by the police.

This consultation seeks views from police forces, firearms owners, and the wider public on the contents of the Government’s draft statutory guidance. The Government will consult the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the Chief Constable of Police Scotland, as required by the legislation, alongside this consultation.

Background

Firearms Ownership

Civilian firearms and shotguns are used for a wide range of legitimate purposes, for example, for recreational target shooting and hunting, and by farmers, gamekeepers and vets. As at 31 March 20193 there were 572,488 shotgun certificates and 159,745 firearms certificates on issue in England and Wales. Some people have both a shotgun and a firearm certificate, and 591,302 people possess either a firearm or shotgun certificate or both. There were 3,408 firearms dealers registered by the police.

The role of the police in assessing applicants for firearm and shotgun certificates

The police assess applications from individuals and dealers for possession or trade in civilian firearms and shotguns. Section 27 of the Firearms Act 1968 (the 1968 Act) states that: “A firearm certificate shall be granted where the chief officer of police is satisfied: (a) that the applicant is fit to be entrusted with a firearm to which section 1 of this Act applies and is not a person prohibited by this Act from possessing such as firearm; (b) that he has a good reason for having in his possession, or for purchasing or acquiring, the firearm or ammunition in respect of which the application is made; and (c) that in all the circumstances the applicant can be permitted to have the firearm or ammunition in his possession without danger to the public safety or to the peace”.

Section 28(1) of the 1968 Act states that “..a shotgun certificate shall be granted or, as the case may be, renewed by the chief officer of police if he is satisfied that the applicant can be permitted to possess a shotgun without danger to the public safety or to the peace”. A certificate shall not be granted if the chief officer of police ‘(a) has reason to believe that the applicant is prohibited by this Act from possessing a shotgun; or (b) is satisfied that the applicant does not have a good reason for possessing, purchasing or acquiring one.’

Police forces carry out a vetting process, including background checks, to assess whether applicants present a danger to public safety. They also have systems in place to identify when an existing certificate holder comes to police attention. Forces will refuse or revoke certificates where the applicant presents a danger. In 2018-19 police refused 233 firearm certificate and 745 shotgun certificate applications. The police revoked 376 firearms certificates and 1,116 shotgun certificates during the lifetime of the certificate.

Medical Checks

The police’s assessment of applicants and certificate holders includes their medical suitability. The firearm and shotgun application form requires applicants to declare any relevant medical conditions. Prior to changes introduced in 2016, the police might require sight of a medical report providing further detail about a medical condition that had been declared. There was

variation across the country over whether the applicant or the police would pay for the medical report. In 2016, new arrangements were put in place to improve information sharing between GPs and police. This followed extensive negotiations involving the police, medical representatives, shooting organisations, Government departments and other interested parties. Coroner and HMICFRS reports had found that there were weaknesses in the existing approach. For example, applicants could avoid medical scrutiny by failing to declare a relevant medical condition. They recommended that the medical arrangements should be strengthened to protect the public.

By the end of 2016 all police forces in England, Wales and Scotland were contacting every applicant’s GP on grant or renewal to ask if the applicant had been diagnosed with a relevant medical condition and asking the GP to place a firearms marker on the patient’s record to enable them to flag up with police any new medical issues which emerged following the grant of the certificate.

Following implementation, significant variation has arisen in England and Wales in relation to the response from GPs to the police request: some GPs do not charge fees at all, others charge fees of variable amounts, and some do not comply with the request. Reasons for not complying are reported to include a lack of expertise in mental health or a conscientious objection to private gun ownership. There is also inconsistency in how the police react if they do not receive the medical information requested. Some forces proceed to grant the certificate, while others do not grant certificates unless they have received a response from the GP. Since 2016 the practice in Scotland has been that police require sight of medical information in all cases before a certificate is granted. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland reported high participation levels by GPs in its March 2018 inspection report4.

Therefore, the Home Office considered what can be done to achieve greater consistency across England and Wales and to ensure that police have the medical information they need to assist with their licensing decisions. The Government’s view is that it is important to ensure, as far as possible, that those who are in possession of firearms are medically fit, to safeguard the certificate holder themselves and other members of the public. The Government now proposes to state, in the statutory guidance, that the police should not grant certificates in the absence of medical information.