Gun owners face new health record checks after Plymouth massacre
Gun owners face new health record checks: Commercial company could vet medical history of firearms applicants after Plymouth massacre
- Plans would allow shooting enthusiasts’ records – including mental health concerns – to be released in confidence by their GP
- Records would only be disclosed with the agreement of those applying for a firearms or shotgun certificate, it is understood
- It comes after the Plymouth massacre where Jake Davison killed five people
Gun owners’ medical records could be vetted by a commercial company in the wake of the Plymouth massacre.
The Home Office is understood to be drawing up plans to allow shooting enthusiasts’ records – including mental health concerns – to be released in confidence by their GP.
Records would only be disclosed with the agreement of anyone who applies for a firearms or shotgun certificate, it is understood.
The proposed scheme is designed to bypass a reluctance by some GPs to produce reports for gun licence applicants.
Gun owners’ medical records could be vetted by a commercial company in the wake of the Plymouth massacre. Pictured: Jake Davison who murdered five people with a pump-action shotgun
A consultation paper produced by the Home Office two years ago said some GPs cite a ‘conscientious objection to private gun ownership’.
Others decline to take part citing a lack of expertise in mental health, while others charge large fees.
A Home Office source said: ‘This idea of third party access to medical records is being looked at very closely at the moment. It is a way of taking GPs out of the equation because some of them refuse to become involved at all.’
The proposal could be part of new guidance to be issued to police forces which will be published by Home Secretary Priti Patel in the next few weeks.
No decision has yet been made on whether police will for the first time be compelled to obtain a medical report on gun licence applicants. But it emerged yesterday that new checks by police will include reviews of social media posts in a bid to weed out those who may be unstable.
It followed widespread concern that Devon and Cornwall Police were unaware of online rants by Plymouth gunman Jake Davison, who murdered five people with a pump-action shotgun last week.
The force’s Chief Constable, Shaun Sawyer, said officers do not look at the social media activity of gun licence applicants because it would be ‘an invasion of privacy’.
Davison, 22, was stripped of his shotgun licence in December after being involved in an assault. But he was handed it back just weeks before Thursday’s horrific killing spree.
All 566,000 holders of firearms or shotgun certificates in England and Wales now face additional security checks – although timescales have yet to be confirmed.
Police forces are currently not obliged to follow Home Office guidance on how to run firearms licensing in their area.
But the proposed new guidance – which will have to be approved by Parliament – would be compulsory.
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