The already strict laws on legal gun ownership in Britain just got tougher with the government now requiring a review of an applicant's medical history.
Absent any codified right to keep and bear arms akin to the Second Amendment in the U.S., British subjects can only own a modern firearm if they are licensed. In guidance released this week by the Home Office, starting Nov. 1, firearms license applications will include a review by authorities of medical information from a registered doctor covering past and current mental health, neurological conditions, and substance abuse.
The move will extend the current 15-page application for a firearm or shotgun certificate to over 21 pages.
"The UK has some of the toughest firearms laws in world, but we must never become complacent about these high standards," said Home Secretary Priti Sushil Patel. "This new guidance prioritizes public safety above all else and we have taken considerable care to ensure it is comprehensive and enforceable, having worked closely with the medical, policing, and shooting sectors."
Physicians' groups seem on board with the new measure, which comes standard with a dose of Big Brother.
Notably, the process will include police asking an applicant's doctor to "place an encoded reminder" on the patient's records to indicate they have a firearm or shotgun certificate and require the office to inform authorities moving forward if the patient was diagnosed with, or treated for, any one of a list of medical conditions.
"As doctors, we support the government’s overall message – that gun ownership is a privilege and not a right – and that firearms must be in the hands of only those who are deemed safe and responsible," said Dr. Mark Sanford-Wood, deputy chair of British Medical Association's GP committee.
As of March 2020, there were 159,483 individual firearm certificates – covering rifles, sound moderators, and muzzle-loading handguns – as well as 567,358 shotgun certificates issued in England and Wales. Certificates are issued by the police and are valid for 5 years. Magazine capacity is restricted to no more than two rounds. Most certificate holders carry several guns on their license, with some 609,902 firearms (including 189,859 suppressors) and 1,383,777 shotguns listed. While there is no minimum age to hold a shotgun certificate, individuals must be at least 13 years old to apply for a firearm certificate.
Banner image: English-made Webley revolver in the Guns.com Vault, produced back when Britain was a totally different country. For example, this vintage wheel gun can only be owned by an individual in England if it was deactivated.