Thursday, 27 June 2013

Gun licences paid for by taxpayer

Much higher licence fees for gun owners are needed to cover the costs of maintaining gun control in the UK.
The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has estimated that administering the current firearms licensing scheme costs £196 for each firearm owner, who since 2001 has paid just £50 for a licence. The £19 million funding gap is currently covered by the public purse.
ACPO has proposed to the Home Office an initial fee increase to £94. Further, as
yet unspecified, increases are proposed once a new online database has been set up through which applicants can track applications, pay online and see the date of home visits by officers from the licensing departments in the UK’s 52 police forces.
Support for the increases has come from Yvette Cooper, Labour’s shadow home secretary. The Normanton MP views it “as part of the need to toughen Britain’s gun laws that should also include legislation preventing domestic violence abusers from owning firearms and clearer guidelines on issues related to alcohol, drugs and mental health”.
Animal rights organisation Animal Aid has campaigned for higher gun licence fees in the hope that it will reduce the numbers going shooting for pleasure. In 2010, when Animal Aid reported to the Parliamentary Home Affairs Committee that shooters were enjoying a public subsidy, it also suggested licensing should be organised by a government licensing agency along similar lines as the DVLA and the Valuation Office Agency.
A spokesperson for Animal Aid said: “The proposed fee increase should be alongside changes introducing the issuing nationally of firearms licenses. This isn’t really police work and this would remove the discretion that chief constables have over the issuing or withdrawal of firearms certificates. It would lead to greater consistency. It’s wrong that in some locations a convicted person can keep their weapons and in another have them removed.”
Currently just 0.2 per cent of firearms renewals are refused and this has had tragic consequences. Michael Atherton, who despite a history of domestic abuse legally owned weapons, shot his partner Susan McGoldrick, Alison Turnbull and Tanya Turnbull dead in County Durham in 2012. Cooper is not certain a national agency would have prevented the killings but said she “was willing to look at the idea”.
ACPO’s proposals have drawn criticism from the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, whose director of firearms, Bill Harriman, said: “Service delivery is inconsistent. Certificate holders should pay a fair price for a fair service – neither they nor the taxpayer should have to pay for inefficiency. We are talking to the police and government on this.”

No comments:

Post a Comment