Cost of firearm and shotgun licenses will rise according to police chiefs

Cost of shotgun and firearm licenses must rise say police chiefs

Shotgun and firearms owners should pay significantly more for licenses to meet a huge funding gap in managing the gun control scheme, the association of chief police officers has said.

Cost of shotgun and firearm licenses must rise say police chiefs

By Ben Farmer5:27PM BST 09 Jun 2013

Fees have not risen for more than a decade and there is a shortfall of £19 million each year for police forces to process certificates.

Chief Constable Andy Marsh, the association’s spokesman on firearms licensing, also called on the Treasury to plug the financial hole.

Sporting gun users immediately said they feared the move was a backdoor attempt to cut the number of gun owners in the country.

A five-year firearms or shotgun certificate currently costs £50, yet police forces estimate they cost around £200 each to process the paperwork and ensure the guns are being stored safely.

The difference means there is an annual funding gap of £18.6 million to run the scheme.

Chief Constable Marsh said: “Fees levied to administer firearms licensing have not changed in more than ten years and it is recognised that they are not sufficient to cover the costs associated with the process.

“As such we do have a proposal submitted to the Home Office to increase fees in licensing.”

Mike Yardley, spokesman for the Shooting Sports Trust, said lawful gun owners were already tired of being confused with criminals and said a cost hike would hit young shooters hardest.

He said: “I think there’s great concern in the shooting community that costs will rise and many people feel this is a back door way of controlling the numbers of people in the shooting community.

“It’s quite an expensive sport as it is,” he added.

He said the licensing system worked well, but said that the great majority of shooting deaths involved illegal weapons, rather than licensed ones.

Gun owners already complain that the scheme is slow, with applications sometimes taking months.

Some forces warn applicants that the process of granting, renewing or altering a licence can take up to four months.
Mike Eveleigh, of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, said firearms licensing had become “a bureaucratic nightmare, both for the police and the sporting shooters.”

He said: “We will support police in their efforts to improve and remove that bureaucracy, but we don’t want to be asked to pay a large sum for a promise of future improvements, which we haven’t seen.”

Leave a Reply