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Thread: Let's increase firearms fees.

  1. #1

    Let's increase firearms fees.

    I propose that fees for the grant/renewal and variation of firearms certificates should be raised.
    I think that it is fair to say that many shooters are well and truly fed up with the poor level of “service” provided by many police forces in processing and administering the grant, renewal or variation of firearms certificates. The more cynical amongst us are convinced or at the very least would go as far as to suggest that some forces are playing games and deliberately slowing down or manipulating the process in order to justify an increase in fees rather than adopt best practise or looking at making improvements in ineffective inefficient systems of work. I think that it’s about time that this problem was put to bed once and for all and I am going to suggest that we shooters capitulate and give into this blackmail that we have been subjected too for so long. We should petition that the fees for the grant/renewal or variation be raised to a level of say £100 but in return an acceptable much improved level of service must be provided by the various constabularies. In order to guarantee this a rigid system of financial penalties would be applied to constabularies failing to meet specific targets and time limits.

    Proposal.
    1. The grant of a certificate should cost £100 and the certificate should be valid for five years, this equates to £20 per annum. A shorter term certificate should be available for a lesser fee, say £50 for two years. A single certificate should cover both section 1 and section 2 firearms so no need for separate documents for those that possess both shotguns and rifles for instance, just different conditions for the various categories of firearm held. It should be possible to process a new application in no more than 12 weeks from initial application to grant. Failure by a police force to process the application in 12 weeks would result in a lesser fee being charged. Let’s say for sake of argument £75 if it takes between 12 and 16 weeks and only £50 if it takes longer than 16 weeks.



    2. Certificate renewals would be dealt with in a similar manner to grants. £100 for five years with similar penalties for failing to renew in a timely manner though in this case renewals should only take four weeks at most. If a renewal isn’t dealt with in four weeks then only 50% of the fee should be payable. Certificate holders must ensure that applications are with the firearms department at least one month before the renewal date. If certificates are not renewed by the date of renewal a temporary certificate will need to be issued.


    3. All variations including one for one variations should be chargeable at say £20 and it shouldn’t take more than two weeks to return the varied certificate. If the variation takes more than two weeks to process there should be no charge.



    4. There should be a charge for visitors permits, say £20 for a certificate valid for one month, after all we have to pay for hunting licences when we shoot in other countries so why shouldn’t it be reciprocal. It shouldn’t take more than a month to issue a visitors permit and if it isn’t issued within a month there should be no charge.



    Now this is only a starting point for discussion to kick things off so let’s hear what you think, after all various governments in previous years have applied similar principles of penalties to other agencies and governmental departments so why shouldn’t a similar approach be applied to firearms licensing departments.
    Last edited by 8x57; 25-08-2012 at 23:29.
    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

  2. #2
    Interesting.

    I agree with some of your points. Not sure about a time limit on grants, maybe for straightforward grants. There are cases when further investigations are required and the process may be held up (waiting for a medical report etc) and that is not the police's fault. I don't think there should be any rush for them to make the initial grant, a 'cooling off' period may benefit a few.

    Before speculating on cost we need to get an idea of the man hours required - £100 still seems very cheap to me for the grant. I tend to think a £20 admin charge for a certificate reprint is fair (one for one variation, lost certs) but I expect that some variations take a lot more man hours (some involve a FEO visit and enquiry).

    I almost think that there is no reason a visitors permit needs to be so cheap at £20 - if you are coming over here to shoot then you have a little money. Why not make it more expensive and use the extra revenue to keep our certification costs down - charge them same as an initial grant and leave valid for as long as their home cert has to run (max 5 years)!

    I have said before that a single certificate may be a bad idea - as long as 'good reason' exists. If it was combined I couldn't justify all my shotguns. I do think a rifle is potentially a lot more dangerous than a shotgun and would suggest they maintained separate applications (maybe if you held both it was a single piece of paper/card). I would like a graded FAC system where you maybe had permission to purchase 'rimfire' 'small centrefire <.243' 'deer legal calibre' 'dangerous game' and left it to the shooter to justify the grant of a category but allowed them to buy and sell as many firearms as they can securely store in that category. Do away with silly 1 for 1 variations. Allow the possession of moderators to anyone who holds a FAC - no need for slots.

    If we are going to start fining the police if they are slow I suggest fining the certificate holders in the following circumstances:
    * fail to read instructions and send wrong number of pictures, no cheque etc (ie if they need to send the form back you pay again!) (my FEO tells me this is a BIG part of the departments workload)
    * You fail to send all completed paperwork back a minimum of 4 weeks before renewal due (double fee)


    Section 161 of the Highways Act 1980 (England & Wales) makes it an offence to discharge a firearm within 50 ft of the centre of a highway with vehicular rights without lawful authority or excuse, if as a result a user of the highway is injured, interrupted or endangered.

  3. #3
    If we are going to start fining the police if they are slow I suggest fining the certificate holders in the following circumstances:
    * fail to read instructions and send wrong number of pictures, no cheque etc (ie if they need to send the form back you pay again!) (my FEO tells me this is a BIG part of the departments workload)
    * You fail to send all completed paperwork back a minimum of 4 weeks before renewal due (double fee)

    Why not, the assumption is that all start dates for applications would be when a complete application (all necessary paperwork) is submitted.
    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

  4. #4
    Apache I'm liking your ideas... Do you remember the government scheme for microchipped ID cards?... I'm against those but they could be useful in place of current FAC's. They cost about £200 to implement, then we'd need to re-write current firearms law and re-train all the FLO's... So prob £300-400 each for this scheme. I personally would be happy with this cost if it meant a credit card style licence and no paying for variations or having to notify Police regarding purchases or disposals

  5. #5
    You could triple all fees for FAC and SC and it would not make a blind bit of difference, I imagine that the fees we pay cover at most 20% of the running costs of a Licensing dept.

    What would make a difference is the interviewing process of the Licensing dept employees... one requirement being in possession of a current FAC. I have recently faced absolute incompetence for my Licensing dept, all because the people handling my change of address, 1 for 1, and surrendering of 3 (inherited) unusable shotguns, did not have a genuine understanding of their own system.

    Will I happily pay higher fees.... Not a chance

    Rant over

    Regards

    Sticks

  6. #6
    i,d not mind paying more for a better service,but all forces would need too sing from the same hymm sheet,instead of them all having different views on guildelines.
    stav
    if your going too be dumb you have too be tough

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by 8x57 View Post
    I propose that fees for the grant/renewal and variation of firearms certificates should be raised.
    I think that it is fair to say that many shooters are well and truly fed up with the poor level of “service” provided by many police forces in processing and administering the grant, renewal or variation of firearms certificates. The more cynical amongst us are convinced or at the very least would go as far as to suggest that some forces are playing games and deliberately slowing down or manipulating the process in order to justify an increase in fees rather than adopt best practise or looking at making improvements in ineffective inefficient systems of work. I think that it’s about time that this problem was put to bed once and for all and I am going to suggest that we shooters capitulate and give into this blackmail that we have been subjected too for so long. We should petition that the fees for the grant/renewal or variation be raised to a level of say £100 but in return an acceptable much improved level of service must be provided by the various constabularies. In order to guarantee this a rigid system of financial penalties would be applied to constabularies failing to meet specific targets and time limits.

    Proposal.
    1. The grant of a certificate should cost £100 and the certificate should be valid for five years, this equates to £20 per annum. A shorter term certificate should be available for a lesser fee, say £50 for two years. A single certificate should cover both section 1 and section 2 firearms so no need for separate documents for those that possess both shotguns and rifles for instance, just different conditions for the various categories of firearm held. It should be possible to process a new application in no more than 12 weeks from initial application to grant. Failure by a police force to process the application in 12 weeks would result in a lesser fee being charged. Let’s say for sake of argument £75 if it takes between 12 and 16 weeks and only £50 if it takes longer than 16 weeks.

    2. Certificate renewals would be dealt with in a similar manner to grants. £100 for five years with similar penalties for failing to renew in a timely manner though in this case renewals should only take four weeks at most. If a renewal isn’t dealt with in four weeks then only 50% of the fee should be payable. Certificate holders must ensure that applications are with the firearms department at least one month before the renewal date. If certificates are not renewed by the date of renewal a temporary certificate will need to be issued.
    3. All variations including one for one variations should be chargeable at say £20 and it shouldn’t take more than two weeks to return the varied certificate. If the variation takes more than two weeks to process there should be no charge.

    4. There should be a charge for visitors permits, say £20 for a certificate valid for one month, after all we have to pay for hunting licences when we shoot in other countries so why shouldn’t it be reciprocal. It shouldn’t take more than a month to issue a visitors permit and if it isn’t issued within a month there should be no charge.

    Now this is only a starting point for discussion to kick things off so let’s hear what you think, after all various governments in previous years have applied similar principles of penalties to other agencies and governmental departments so why shouldn’t a similar approach be applied to firearms licensing departments.
    I am afraid that I totally disagree with you. What you say is well intentioned but I believe that the bigger picture needs to be looked at. i.e. a greatly simplified Firearms Act in respect of lawfully held weapons which would be much more cost effective and equally efficient in terms of public safety. I propose that in principle all current S1 firearms become reclassified as S2 and all the bureaucratic nonsense of S1 be done away with, after all mentoring and territorial conditions etc. etc. have nothing whatever to do with armed crime or revolution!
    IMO The shooting community as a whole has merely fought defensively against draconian legislative proposals for far too long, we ought to become much more proactive and look beyond the fees discussion to ask for more radical reform to our liking. atb Tim

  8. #8
    I totally agree timbrayford, an overhaul of the current overly complicated and restrictive firearms legislation is long overdue but let’s just look at making the present administration process work for the time being and look at what could be done to reward competence and penalise incompetence and inefficiency.

    Sticks the firearms licensing system is a control mechanism required by law which parliament has previously deemed that as such it is not required to be self financing with a full recovery of operating costs. If the police want full recovery of costs then let’s have the same principle applied equally and fairly in all areas of their activities. Examples of this could be full recovery of costs for policing football matches or other events. Or full recovery of costs for administering the Licensing Act as it applies to places of assembly and entertainment. So if full recovery of inflated costs is ever suggested lets have it applied fairly to everything administered by public bodies and not single out shooting to be treated as different to any other sport.
    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

  9. #9
    Leave it as it is have a renewal every 10 years unless something changes in your circumstances or you want a gun change then you will pay for that change.
    May i add again the largest police force in Scotland deals with renewals very well. In Fact i think Scotland in general is doing a Stirling job.
    You english chaps can pay if you want to but i find the price more than enough.
    Last edited by 6pointer; 26-08-2012 at 07:17.

  10. #10
    How much do we think should be charged against the constabulary's that refuse to issue temp permits?,.... & "Re-Training" implies prior training does it not?
    (The Unspeakable In Pursuit Of The Uneatable.) " If I can help, I will help!." Former S.A.C.S. member!

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