New Statutory Guidance for Police in Firearms Licensing

On 15th October 2020 the government published a proposed draft of the Statutory Guidance which will eventually be published under Section 55A of the Firearms Act 1968, as amended. It can be found here. This is subject to change, having received comments from interested parties. It will be mandatory for this guidance to be taken into account by the police and the courts when they deal with firearms licensing appeals. It is not to be confused with the longer Guide on Firearms Licensing Law last published by the Home Office in 2016. That still acts as guidance to police, but does not have to be taken into account by the police and the courts. The new guidance will have to be applied when considering applications for certificates and appeals from police decisions.

The Statutory Guidance gives clear criteria for considering the suitability of applicants and existing certificate holders, and deals with the obtaining of medical information from an applicants GP. There is a section dealing with allegations or suspicions of domestic violence.

In our view this new guidance will place further restrictions on the ability of some applicants and certificate holders to obtain or keep their certificates if it is brought into force as currently drafted. No date is yet set for implementation.