Firearms licensing emerges from lockdown

Andrew – featured in the film above – had his certifivcate renewed on 12 August 2021. The police evn asked if her would like extra variations, and granted them. At the end of August, two armed officers turned up at his house and asked him, without explanation, to surrender his guns and his certificate. They told him to ring his police fireaams licensing unit for an explanation. He has been doing that three days a week ever since (seven weeks as this story goes out) and no explanation is forthcoming. He has also ben wracking his brains for a reason that the police no longer consider him fit to have an FAC, and he can’t think of one.

We are keeping his surname and his constabulary out of this story so as not to prejudice his qust to get his guns back.

It’s not so much the removal of his firearms – though he believes that that must be a mistake. It’s the refusal of his firearms licensing officers to give him a reason.

There is no shortage of horror stories from firearms owners trying to get a grant or renewal of a ertificate during lockdown. It was a constabulary lottery, with some firearms licensing working throughout the covid pandemic and others giving up.

In January 2021, West Yorkshire Police said on its website that ‘grant applications, variation applications and non-essential requests’  will be ‘significantly delayed and highly unlikely to be processed during this period, as we are looking to reduce home visits and non-essential travel’. Later it made the happy announcemnt: ‘From Monday 12 April 2021, we will be accepting grant and variation applications.’

South Wales Police said on its website that it was not be able to process an  application if the address of the applicant became subject to a local lockdown. They had to wait until the lockdown was lifted.

Meanwhile, Cambridgeshie Constabulary reported that its firearms licensing team was back in action on 17 May 2021. It added: “We do have a number of applications already received which were suspended due to lockdown and it may take some time to catch up, so your continued patience would be greatly appreciated. We will process your application as soon as we are able.”

Almost all renewals slowed. The CPSA reports the Metropolitan Police guidance during lockdown that, ‘Existing certificate holders should apply early (12 – 16 weeks) for at least the next six months in order to secure the statutory extension and give us the best possible opportunity to renew within time.’

During the covid lockdowns, BASC reports that some police forces are not accepting first-time grant applications because of difficulties they may be having with carrying out home visits during local and national covid restrictions. Others adapted to the pandemic and  conducted home visits remotely using video conferencing calls on mobile phones. Meanwhile, most police forces have continued to process renewals and variations, albeit with time delays in some cases due to the impact of covid on officer and staff functions.

None of this helps Andrew. We will report on his case as soon as we have news. If you have a firearms licensing horror story to tell, email charlie@fieldsportschannel.tv  

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