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GPs 'should supply medical reports for firearms applications'

The police watchdog has recommended that GPs should provide medical reports for their patients who are applying for firearms licences, paid for by the patient themselves.

The report of firearms licensing by the inspector for police forces in England and Wales says that there are ‘fundamental gaps’ in how police check the mental health of gun owners.

It says a licence should not be given without a current medical report from a GP, paid for by the patient.

GPs are not obliged to respond to police requests for medical information about potential firearms holders or note if their patients hold certificates, the report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) says.

John Canning, chair of the BMA’s professional fees committee, supported the requirement for a GP to give police a report on a patient before the person is given a gun licence.

‘It is encouraging that HMIC has accepted our advice… However, we do need to ensure that the practical implementation of the proposed system is effective, should it be taken forward, and does not unnecessarily increase workload for GPs at a time when many are struggling to cope with patient demand and falling resources.’

The HMIC report says that although applicants for gun licences must tell police about any relevant medical conditions and allow officers to speak to their GPs, many licences are approved regardless of whether or not police have spoken to referees or the GP has looked at the applicants’ medical records.

HMIC recommends a mandatory system so that anyone who wants a gun licence should obtain a medical report from their GP.

GPs will be required to record if their patients own gun licences — and tell police of any deterioration in their mental health, including dementia.

Home Office guidance — now being updated — is expected to reflect this but not make it a legal requirement, the BMA said.

Readers' comments (17)

  • Gps 'ideally placed' to take more risks again to cover a failing police gun liscencing system,increasing our workload and indemnity.They need to organised a HGV type medical and we need to renumerated for the risk accordingly.If not NO.

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  • I'll open the bidding.

    £100 per application and £200 if, as is often the case with the ruddy faced rare attended shooting fraternity, the GP needs to see the applicant in person. This certifies that at that point there was no evident medical reason why person shouldn't hold a firearm. This is contingent on the applicant giving honest answers and there is no forward commitment for the GP to monitor the applicants health or fitness to hold firearms until the next application interval. This might be yearly.

    Seems reasonable enough for me. I mean, have you seen how much the lot pay for Wellies?

    Any more bids?

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  • No....I think the police should do it.
    What the f@*K has fire arms licensing got to do with medicine? Its a legal issue about who the country feels can have a gun. Its got nothing to do with medicine at all. If society is worried about mentally ill people having fire arms they should pay mental health professionals to provide advice...not DUMP the process on primary care Drs who care for diabetics, asthmatics, children and everyone else - they want us to do it because everyting we do is perceived to be 'free'. The whole stinking administrative burden can be dumped on us because the police cant be arsed and they are too busy we aren't!??

    Anyone else have anything irritating and difficult they cant be arsed to do? ...want to find some vague reason why is can be deemed 'medical' so it can be dumped on GPs?? .......housing, benefits, bus passes, school attendance, insurance, compensation at work, compensation following an RTA.....the list is ENDLESS. And people wonder why they cant get an appointment with a GP when they are actually ill??

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  • All these posts are spot on. I don't want to be held responsible for an angry farmer who shoots his neighbour or his wife years after I've been bullied into signing him 'fit'. I think vicars and clerics are better placed to take on this workload.

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  • I think i must have missed that lecture at med school.

    Police should make the decision.

    Alternatively I think everyone should be banned from having a firearm.

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  • Erm...Evidence that we can predict who loses their rag and shoots someone?
    Surely non official gun ownership is likely to casue more problems.
    Can't see HMG or police pinning the responsibility on us for that.....oh wait...Gps are best placed to....................

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  • Its very simple I don't feel anyone should have a gun. So best not to ask me

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  • I have no interest in anyone being allowed to hold a firearm in civilian life and shall decline any such requests.

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  • I worked as a Police Surgeon as well as a GP, I was also section 12 Approved. There is no way I would put my name to a piece of paper that said someone was safe to own a firearm (or a knife, axe, hammer piece of rope....)
    This is a complete nonsense.
    Want a firearm? Give the police full access to your medical notes and let their assessor make of them what they will.
    Not a GP job in any way

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  • Simple, provide report stating this patient is not suitable to carry firearms .

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