FIREARMS CONTROL IN THE UKESSENTIALS
OF THE SYSTEM
73. The basis of the system is the Firearm
Certificate issued at the discretion of the police. Firearms and
ammunition may not be purchased or acquired lawfully without the
authority of a firearm certificate. Issue is dependent upon the
police being satisfied that the applicant is a fit person to have
possession of a firearm and that he has established a good reason
for that possession in respect of each firearm he wishes to possess.
The certificate lists each firearm possessed or authorised to
be possessed, identified by calibre, type, maker's name and serial
number. Ammunition holdings are specified by calibre
and quantity; maxima are specified for quantities which may be
possessed and purchased or acquired at any one time.
74. Transactions, identifying the transferor,
his authority to possess the items transferred and the nature
and date of the transaction are entered on the certificate by
75. The firearm certificate, which today
costs £56, remains valid for five years unless revoked; it
is a personal document which identifies the holder by name, address
and a photograph certified by a third party. Certificate renewal
requires a process similar to that of application. Both application
and renewal require the completion of an application form (upon
which the applicant identifies two referees), followed by interview
and checks upon the applicant by the police (which take into account
the comments of the applicant's referees)which include
one or more home visits when the applicant's provisions for the
safe keeping of firearms and ammunition will be reviewed. The
police may revoke the authorities granted by a certificate at
any time; appeal against such a decision by the police may be
made to the Crown Court.
76. The administration of the control system
is based in three stages. The purpose of the first is to determine
whether one who wishes to own a firearm (at one time a right in
common law, but now probably lapsed) should be denied on specified
the second stage establishes the parameters within which the certificate
holder may exercise the authority granted him; the third is a
matter of maintaining a record of transactions set by those parameters.
Abbreviations and references
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Association of Chief Police Officers.
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Cullen, The Hon Lord 1996, The Public Inquiry
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Ernst and Young 1992, Home Office: Firearms
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Greenwood, Colin 1972, Firearms Control:
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Home Office 1969, Firearms Act: Memorandum
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Home Office 1991, Report on the Administration
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Home Office 1992a, Home Office News Release
72/92, 13 March 1992.
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Home Office 1993 Review of the Firearms Control
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HOSB 1998, `Notifiable Offences: England and
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Issue 22/98. Home Office.
Kopel, D.B., 1993, `Peril or Protection?
The risks and benefits of handgun prohibition', St Louis Univesity
Public Law Review, vol. XII, No. 2 (1993), 285-359.
Kopel, D.B., 1994, Rocky Mountain News,
30 January 1994.
Labour Party 1996, Control of Guns (evidence
submitted to Lord Cullen's Inquiry into the shootings at Dunblane
Maybanks, A.S.H., 1992, Firearms Controls:
An Examination of the Effects of Present Legislation and the Provenance
of Firearms Used in Armed Robberies in the Metropolitan Police
District. M.A. Dissertation (Unpublished): Faculty of Social
Sciences in The University of Exeter.
McKlintock, F.H. and Gibson, Evelyn 1961, Robbery
in London. London: Macmillan.
NAO 1999, Handgun Surrender and Compensation,
National Audit Office: Report by the Comptroller and Auditor
General. London: Stationery Office.
Oag, D., McKay, Heather and Coghill, Nicola
1996, An Evaluation of Serious Incidents Involving the Use
of a Firearm in 1993, Scottish Office Central Research Unit.
109 Calibre is a measurement of bore size and is thus
imprecise as a cartridge identifier. Back
Firarms Act 1968, s27. Back