Caroline Pidgeon writes… URGENT! Five minutes of your time could help ensure firearm licence fee changes in 2015

Feeling slightly restless between Christmas and New Year?  Are you one of those people who just can’t keep away from their computer or device? Fed up of the constant emails about sales?!

Well if your answer yes to any of these questions – and the fact that you are even reading this article suggest you might – then I have a suggestion for something to do.

Why not quickly complete a Home Office consultation on the issues of firearm licence fees?

Yes you read that correctly.

The consultation ends at the very end of Monday 29th December (I didn’t set the deadline!) so it really is now or never.

The issue, as I raised back in an article in August, is that the cost of a five-year licence for a firearm, has now been frozen for more than 13 years.

Incredibly the cost of a firearm licence is just one quarter of the real cost facing the police in administering the system and ensuring vital security checks are undertaken.

So at present valuable police resources, that should be devoted to local policing, are being used to subsidise gun owners.

This is simply indefensible.

The good news is that this could soon change. The Home Office is now carrying out a consultation which proposes to modernise the licensing system using eCommerce.

This will standardise and improve the turnaround times for licences and by using modern technology reduce the cost of administering the system. And at the same time there will be a reasonable increase in fees for people allowed to own a firearm to ensure that the fees finally cover the real cost facing the police.

If you agree with these changes please take just five minutes today to take part in the consultation.  It really could lead to real changes in 2015.

* Caroline Pidgeon is the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member and chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee

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  • Could do with a substantial increase in licence.
    I have known very sensible people and some utter, total idiots who did not know rules of keeping and holding shotguns.
    Not convinced esystem will weed out the idiots.

  • Eddie Sammon 28th Dec '14 - 6:14pm

    Unfortunately, I am disappointed that Caroline still thinks the state paying for state imposed regulation is “indefensible”. The same thinking leads to small financial services providers having to pay several thousand pounds to the government just to start trading and it keeps people like me doing low skilled work instead.

    A 50-50 subsidy is probably a reasonable compromise.

  • Eddie Sammon 28th Dec '14 - 6:39pm

    PS, I’ve just completed the consultation. It took no more than five minutes, but I have major concerns about the idea that people like farmers and legal firearms dealers should have to pay for the regulation that others demand. At most I can stomach 50-50 and on the consultation I chose “neither agree nor disagree” with the new proposals.

    There also needs to be an incentive to keep costs down, which there will not be if the state doesn’t pay for any of it.

  • Tsar Nicolas 29th Dec '14 - 12:58am

    Eddie sammon

    “Unfortunately, I am disappointed that Caroline still thinks the state paying for state imposed regulation is “indefensible”.”

    For once, I totally, absolutely agree with you. In fact, given the extent of the cuts to law and order services under this government, and the likelihood of more to come, I am coming around to the idea that most existing restrictions on gun ownership should be done away with.

    As I see it, the people most likely to do me harm are those criminals who are able to get their hands on firearms, who do not fear the law.

    There is an imbalance here that needs to be addressed.

  • Tsar Nicolas 29th Dec ’14 – 12:58am
    “…As I see it, the people most likely to do me harm are those criminals who are able to get their hands on firearms, who do not fear the law.”

    Why do you see it that way? Is the way you see it based on any evidence?

    Do you have any evidence to indicate that the majority of victims of gun shot wounds come from the guns of criminals?

    What proportion of shootings are by one member of a family shooting another member of the same family, with no criminal involvement whatsoever?

    What proportion of victims are shot by accident by people who hold guns legally and are not connected with any crime?

    What proportion of victims are shot by accident by members of the military or of legitimate gun clubs?

    How many people are shot accidentally by members of the aristocracy shooting inexpertly at any random wildlife that crosses their path on Royal Estates?

    Without giving away your secret identity, Tsar Nicolas, I assume from your comment that you are not young, black and living in London? Some officers of the Met Police (not the vast majority) have in recent years shot and killed a number of young black men. One such incident was the trigger for the Tottenham Riots. It would appear that these were “legal” shootings by officers authorised to routinely carry guns.

    As far as I am aware the number of crimes involving guns used by criminals has been in decline for some years. Could this be something to do with the perfectly sensible regulation of guns? If you compare the data on regulation of guns between the USA and the UK, I think you will find that regulation seems to work.

  • Susan Kendrick 29th Dec '14 - 3:22pm

    Survey closed at time of writing???

  • The consultation was advertised, since its start on the 27th November, as running until 23.45 pm on the 29th December.

    The Home Office have been informed that they have in practice ended the consultation earlier than publicised on their website.

  • I’m with Eddie (don’t get to say that very often!).

    The idea that people should pay the state the cost of administrating things like this is a TERRIBLE principle. At most, it should be considered a MAXIMUM amount to pay. It certainly shouldn’t be considered “indefensible” to pay less than that amount for this or anything else.

    That said, I do think that a 13-year freeze is bizarre and the cost should probably rise over the coming years in real terms and then be pegged in an inflationary manner longer term.

  • Richard Marshall 1st Jan '15 - 4:12pm

    Suggesting charging law abiding sportsmen £200 or more for a five year shotgun/firearm cert is ridiculous. It would not cost so much for the police, if they were not burdened by pointless restrictive laws on gun ownership. If our government wish to impose expensive red tape to keep the public “safe” then the cost ought to be subsidised by public funds. £50 for a certificate is reasonable. A 13 year fee freeze is not a good reason to increase the fee of a certificate.

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