Discussion in 'Shooting, Hunting and Fishing' started by EX_STAB, Aug 26, 2009.
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It would mean that nearly every ex-squaddy, ex-copper, ex-paramedic, would be banned from owning a shotgun
OK, any sensible thoughts?
Given that the much discussed, and frankly logical step of harmonising gun holding records has never been achieved, I would think this is very unlikely to happen..
1. The Doctors will want to be paid for doing this.
2. There cannot be legal obligations either way as neither the police or the doctors will want to accept blame if/when something happens.
3. Anybody holding a ticket will simply not discuss any mental or anxiety problems with their GP, which will actually make matters worse..
Another example of Coroners flying political kites...
I do wish they would stick to finding and recording the facts and not get in to the speculation and opinion passing game..
It's a two-way street and it is certainly worth consideration IMHO.
Currently, the only way for the police to know if a person has mental issues is when they apply for or renew the licence, at which point, they can and do request their private medical records, with the signed permission of the applicant (that permission being granted by the applicant is a pre-requisite of the application being considered by the police).
The licence is renewed every 5 years, and that's a long time. It is down to the applicant at this time to inform the police if he has mental problems, which doesn't always happen, as in the highlighted case of the guy who killed himself and his family AFTER telling his doctor of his suicidal feelings.
On some occasions, licence holders have gone to their doctors to seek advice and/or assistance and have then off their own bat informed the police about having doing so. On these occasions, the police have immediately withdrawn the licence until they have consulted the doctor and checked out any prescribed medication. Depending on the police force, and the particular circumstances surrounding the licence holder, AND the advice of his/her doctor, the police will re-issue the licence, albeit with some changes.
I know of one particular ex-forces chap who now has a son in the army. He had a licence for a number of calibres up to .308 for hunting. He was aware that he had anger issues, and after discussions with his wife, went to see his doctor. His doctor prescribed him some calmative medication, and the licence holder then informed his firearms liaison officer. The police in this particular case withdrew the licence immediately and requested that the firearms holder deposited his guns into safe storage (his local gun dealer) until they could make a judgement. The firearms holder did exactly that. The gun dealer that dealt with this chap contacted the firearms HQ and told them he had the weapons, and actually spoke for the man, saying he did not believe him to be a risk.
When the police contacted the gentleman's doctor, the doctor said that in his opinion, the man was not a risk to himself or anyone else.
On that basis, the police proceeded cautiously and re-issued the licence, but only up to .22 calibre, keeping the situation under review.
Personally, I can find absolutely no fault with the situation described above. The police are obliged to act with utmost caution when dealing with mental or emotional problems because of the attendant firearms risks, but they can only do so if they are aware of an issue.
The risks of a situation whereby the possession of firearms is noted on someone's medical records is two-fold: Firstly, who's to say that a doctor might not be anti-firearms and might deliberately spike the guns of the holder? Well, this is what membership of the BASC (British Association of Shooting & Conservation) is all about. It represents firearms holders and is happy to litigate in circumstances of unfair treatment.
Secondly, the same applies where there is a police force that interprets government guidelines in a bias against licence holders, such as in Kent. If a gun owner feels he has been unfairly treated because of medication he or she is prescribed or other medical issue, then they have recourse to the BASC and their muscle to get the wrong put right. It is organisations such as BASC that any shooter has the support of, and there's many cases where the BASC has litigated on behalf of a licence holder and won.
because .22 rifles are so harmless...
I think to derive benefit from such a scheme it would help if the Police Force in question demonstrated some intelligence.
Considering that many forces seem unable to respond when Certificate Holders are brought to their attention for violent offences having been arrested by their own officers I doubt they will do anything useful with this.
In principle it seems not unreasonable but it puts a burden on the GP and is likely to mean certificate holders not getting treatment for mental illness/ depression/ anxiety etc.
Actually it is not a bad idea, but we talk about UK, so the implementation will likely be a complete screw up.
My French license has to be renewed annually (Euro 36 which also insures me). It is stamped by my club (that I attend regularly and seem a reasonable guy), and by my GP (this states that as far as he knows I am physically and mentally ok).
I have no problem with this, seems a pragmatic approach.
Can you support that statement about Kent Police?
In all my recent dealings (over 2 years now) I have never found it so.
As I understand it, they will not approve land for shooting over if it can only be done with a high seat.
I'm hearing there's issues with issuing .243 calibre for fox control too.
It might actually just be a particular FLO that is the cause of the problem. I'm getting it secondhand.
Edited to add: Actually, on reflection it's all moot anyway. The bloke who did for himself and his family; if he didn't have a gun, would he have used something else? Almost certainly.
It goes back to the anti-hunting knife argument. If someone is going to go out and hurt someone else, they'll use whatever is available, and if they can't get a hunting knife/gun [insert weapon of choice], then they'll use anything from poison to chair legs to fists. Just because they've got a firearm doesn't mean they are more or less likely to do the act, it just defines that which is most accessible for the job.
Not aware of a high seat issue- was walking a new site with my FEO and he said that only high seats were suitable for the land in question and he ok'd the land on that basis
.243 for fox? Well fox was ok'd for my 7.62x39 and added to my .17HMR
I guess the biggest worry apart from all the extra admin to go wrong and get paid for, and the unlikely event that it will actually do any good (Thomas Hamilton was described as a danger by one of Strathclyde's own offers and they did the square root of **** all about it.) is that there will be another insecure database (The NHS System - if it ever arrives.) that will have the names and addresses of Certificate holders.
I've spoken to a small number of people. One said that his FLO/FEO was not prepared to approve ground that needed shooting, only because the only way to shoot it safely was from a high seat.
Another said that the FLO/FEO refused to grant him a .243 because he hadn't done his DSC or been mentored, despite the fact that he told him that it was for fox control and to do his DSC/mentoring with. I know this chap, and he's very sensible. The idiot FLO actually told him he'd be happy to give him a .222, a 22-250 or a .223 however!!! Suffice to say, he went to the BASC who got it overturned.
There is another case of a 60 old gent who'd applied for a .22 live after shooting .22 air for some time, and the FLO told him that he was only prepared to allow him a .22 air FAC, and that if he used that for a year, he'd consider him for live. My FLO figured it was down to the size of the plot, but it turns out that this guy owned 700 acres, wasn't daft, no medical issues and had a clean record.
The same name pops up a fair bit.
First thought bugger, second thought it wont work and finally I dont think many shooters are the sort of person who spills it all to the quack, smacks of being weak in many eyes!
The Police have always had the option of accessing medical notes when you apply for/renew your FAC, as such any enquiry will be logged in your notes already.
What's one of the first things your GP will do if you go in complaining of depression and/or suicidal ideation? He'll give you a box of pills that will do the job quite nicely thank you. No need to apply for your FAC/SGC to top yourself.
The words from the BMA are key:
"Such a system should not, however, imply that the GP practice has taken on particular obligations to monitor or oversee the mental health of individuals holding firearms licences."
If Mr Muggins turns up at GP twitching, expressing urges to climb a clock tower, take a place on the grassy knoll etc, such a "FAC Holder" flag on his medical notes would indeed be useful.
But in 99.999% of cases all it will do is:
1) further disenfranchise any holder of an FAC or SGC from seeking any form of health care for stress or anxiety related problems.
2) allow issuing Police force to disclaim all responsibilty for granting a certificate to someone who turns out to have a problem
3) tend to force GP's into pressing the alarm button for the slightest of reasons (e.g. "And how is your husband, Mrs Blogg? Have not seen him for a while." "Oh well doctor, you know, he has been a bit stressed at work.....")
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