Doctors’ refusal to participate leaves a gap in Britain’s gun control system | Letter

Many GPs refuse to place markers on medical notes that a patient is a firearms owner or charge outrageous fees – up to £300 – to do so, says Christopher Graffius

Dal Babu is wrong to suggest that the British Association for Shooting and Conservation should not provide its members with details of fellow members who are doctors and are willing to provide medical verification for a firearms certificate (If you’re asking how the Plymouth shooter got his gun, look at the broken licensing system, 18 August). The shooting community has an obvious interest in ensuring public safety. Without it, responsible and legal shooting as we know it would not exist.

What Dal Babu misses is the importance of continuous medical monitoring of certificate holders through the placement of a marker, identifying them as firearms owners, on their medical notes. Such a marker enables doctors to inform police during the life of a certificate if the holder develops a condition which rules out the possession of firearms.

The gap in the system is that while the applicant for a certificate, and the police who process it, all have statutory responsibilities, the doctor does not. Their participation is wholly voluntary, and many GPs refuse to participate and place markers on medical notes or charge outrageous fees – up to £300 – to do so.

That is why BASC and others have had to develop medical panels to provide efficient and effective scrutiny and verification of an applicant’s medical history. If GPs were obliged to participate, such panels would be unnecessary.
Christopher Graffius
Executive director of communications and public affairs, British Association for Shooting and Conservation

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