Written evidence submitted by D&G
Consultants UK Limited|
I welcome an inquiry into firearms control and consider
there is a need for both medical and criminal justice agencies
to become involved in both firearms applications and renewals.
Experience with dealing with very large numbers of certificate
holders has shown me that people's lives and circumstances change
and I consider the current Police supervision and inquiry procedures
I would like to see a shorter period of renewalsay
three years with the inquiry officer checking that the firearm
or shotgun is actually being used regularly and responsibility
in accordance with his/her good reason for having the appropriate
certificate. I realise that Police resources are limited but visits
at renewal as well as new issue should be compulsory, at
present that is often omitted. Likewise some form of witnessed
statement from landowners or sporting rights holders to confirm
regular outings for deer or vermin control.
At present we have a voluntary certificate of competence
for deer stalking which I welcome. This has had the result since
its introduction (96) in large numbers of people taking the test
and applying for firearm certificates. I believe the number approaches
20,000 in the UK. Many of those people will be unlikely to shoot
any deer and may seldom actually use their firearms.
I rent several large estates for taking out fee paying
clients and I insist that if I have authorised land use for their
applications they do take a minimum number of outings each year
and these are documented with results. Myself and my assistants
also keep a vigilant eye on their behaviour, character and performance.
Several Police Forces now introduce a supervision
order for new stalkers or rifle shooters, using experienced and
qualified stalkers as mentors. Once competence is confirmed then
the certificate restriction is removed. The holding of the Deer
Stalking Certificate (level 1) is not a sufficient proof of competence
!it can be attained in just three days of instruction, experience
in the field under supervision or on the range is also essential
as is the first harvesting of deer or destruction of vermin in
the open countryside by new rifle shooters.
In conclusion most of us who legitimately own and
use firearms are keen to Police our own industry and we have a
good track record in that respect. It would be wrong to impose
more onerous restrictions upon these responsible people as a result
of insufficient inquiry by the Police or lack of alerts from the
medical or legal agencies.
5 August 2010