New Avon Arms


Well-Known Member
I have posted this on another forum, but felt compelled to extend the question to more shooters

How many think that there should be National Firearms Bureau that deal with the whole thing and that it should be taken out of the Chief Constable's hands altogether?
Thereby removing the responsibility of 100,000 firearms in my area from his daily work load, and drawing a clear and defined line under licensing conditions, and the massive injustice that surrounds them.

By doing this we would have the same law for one as we do for another, like we "normally " do when we drive a car.

I mean would you like it if you were driving down the road in a van, only to be stopped at the county border and told that your license does not allow you to drive a van in that county?, and if you proceed you will be arrested, only to have a guy from that county with the same license as you get waved on past?

What do you think of a National FireArms Bureau ? and could/ or would it bring a greater equality to the whole thing, and would it be better faster, and more focussed?, and allow the police departments to get on with what they should be doing... catching REAL Criminals?



Well-Known Member

yes i agree, it would allow a better base of skill and knowledge to develope and better standardisation of procedures.

but at the end of the form someone has to take responsibility and sign as to whether a person is fit to possess a firearm or not. That discretionary element can't be removed and you would need staff prepared to stick thier necks on the line by doing this. this does not have to be a police officer, but it does need to be someone similarly accountble.



Well-Known Member
i am not sure i am thinking on the same lines but here goes
yes i believe a national firearms bureau would be good in theory , but how or who would regulate it
all the ex FLO's that know the people and area perhaps or would they hav to retrain a whole load of new officers that actualy had more experience of firearms and shooting than many of the present day FLO's because some one will still hav to come out for a house inspection
would this also mean , a set training course in all disciplines from range work , lamping , DSC even vermin control, with a stringent exam at the end of it , that you would need to pass
this way anyone getting a firearms will atleast hav some knowledge of everthing they may need to know about whilst out using a firearms
thus taking the most of the responsibility off the person signing the ticket , just like it does for an MOT certificate
good thing , bad thing don't know
but a set training course to cover everthing has to be a good thing


Well-Known Member
Good responses so far, and great to see a response from Steve, that has to be a very valid opinion

Im not too worried about the accountability side of things as we are all accountable for our jobs, and it's been keeping FLO's,Ministers, Driving examiners, Chief Constables,Doctors, in business for years, I'm not suggesting the level of accountability is any different than it currently is.

So are we suggesting that we bring in a vermin training course as well as DSC1? or even a general hunters license? be careful with the paperwork, its starting to get expensive and drawn out


Well-Known Member
training and accountability

no the multi discipline training is for the enquiry officer.

As for the accountability and responsibility factor this is important. Someone has to sign the forms and say the applicant is ok. in 90% of cases it is quite simple. but 10% is quite a large amount. The person signing that form needs to know what is at risk to others safety and thier own liability. Remember what happens when it gets done wrong.... Dunblane.

Finding people of the right quality to do the job would not be a cheap process, but it is of course, doable.

I agree it is a great idea, i will do the job!



Well-Known Member
National Firearms Bureau

Swampy, As I see things, we already have a law that is equal for everyone. The problem is that each Chief Constable is given free rein to interpret that law.
There is no-one above them governing what they say and it is only a brave sole that puts his head over the parapet that brings them back into line. Change the chief and it starts over again.
Griff, perhaps the BASC would like to tackle that and simplifying the application form (Thames Valley have more photographs of me than my family album).
The post office used to issue gun licences years ago and as they are civil servants perhaps they could take the job on.
I would be only too happy to see more policemen on the beat but I mean on the beat, not sitting in vans holding hair driers to collect more revenue.
I agree that what is needed is a simplified process and a National standard.
Appologies for the rant.


Well-Known Member
In my opinion, it's when the chief constable gets involved is where the inequality starts,

That was the main focus of the question, and why it should be taken out of his hands altogether and handed over to a specialist dept that operates on a national basis, with the same rules applying to all.

His inability to make the same judgements as peers is where the system breaks down into a farce.


Well-Known Member

Judgements is right, someone has to make them. whoever makes them there will be differences between the individuals making them. Also very few cases are exactly the same, that is raraely reported though. - but with a national establishment it will be better because the training will be produced centrally.

"I would be only too happy to see more policemen on the beat but I mean on the beat, not sitting in vans holding hair driers to collect more revenue. "

What a fantastically simplistic viewpoint. Whether we like it or not excess speed is a major contributory factor in death at RTAs. Deliver a few death messages and then it will become clear.

A fatal road traffic accident costs £1m to investigate (i think that is the figure) so if the chief constable can prevent 2 or 3 a year he can save a load of money from his devolved and decreasing budget. That can be used to keep operational officer levels up.

We would be very mistaken to think that firearms licensing is financially viaible as a standalone.

We would also be very mistaken to think that a bobby on the beat achieves much in the way of actual crime reduction. A bobby on the beat does, however, provide a feeling that that is the case. A good nieghbourhood officer now spends a very small part of thier time on patrol, that time must be focussed well. The officer can achieve real crime reductions from thier office. you have to address the underlying issues that cause the crime.



Well-Known Member
i think the current system is not that bad and a national one will be more complicated and will be less approachable than now, your local force has better local knowledge of you and the area.

i agree with swampy on some points that it would not be a viable fiancial option on it own. my own firearms dept (south wales police) has only civilian staff and FEO'S so no loss of police officers.

i disagree with you swampy that "We would also be very mistaken to think that a bobby on the beat achieves much in the way of actual crime reduction"

a bobby on the beat doing his/her job will reduce crime in that area but there is no way of producing stats for this and it can not be recorded for goverment figures ....neil


Well-Known Member
National Firearms Bureau

Steady on Swampy, this was not a simplistic view.
Only 5% of road deaths are caused by speeding motorists. Which means that 95% are not.
I was driving when the 70mph limit came in and the majority of cars on the roads then had transverse springs and cable brakes. Yep, there are a lot more vehicles on the roads and they are a lot faster but overall road deaths have come down a lot over the years.
In those days if someone reported a burglary then the police would be there and pretty quick. Mainly because there was one in almost every village, let alone towns and cities.
In my youth Iwoulld have loved to have been a policeman but they didn't want anyone with ducks disease.
I appologise if I upset you and going off the thread.

Nick Gordon

Well-Known Member
Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't there talk of something similar a few years ago but the proposal was abandoned after Dunblane?

The analogy of your Driving Licence is not, with respect, a good one. You pass your tests and are entitled to a licence to drive the relevant class of vehicle. There is no need to show the need for a vehicle or produce references etc.

Even though the Firearms Act is a UK law, and should be applied in the same way across the country, we all know, it isn't. The law says that the Chief Constable needs to be satisfied you have a valid reason for possesing a firearm and that you are a fit and proper person to do so.

This brings in the human element of discretion so it will make no difference if the system is administered by the Police or a Civilian Bureau.

You can guess the cost of such a system and who would have to pick it up - us :mad:


Well-Known Member
The point I was trying to make Nick was the fact that one dept will immediately give a .243 on an open licence to a first time applicant, and others will not,and others insist on a Mentor, even if you have been shooting rimmies for years.

I think my analogy stands up very well. It's not fair. It's the same licence and the level of firearm.

Many perfectly safe and law abiding shooters are having to attend courses, at a huge cost, and BASC will never represent this injustice, as they are one of the main training bodies that benefit from it financially.
Some shooters/ stalkers are being made to attend £400 DSC1 courses when they have been stalking for 20 years or more.

Its a farce


Well-Known Member
Steady on Swampy, this was not a simplistic view.
Only 5% of road deaths are caused by speeding motorists. Which means that 95% are not.

No but a great many have speed as an aggravating factor, for this to be the case you don't have to be breaking the speedlimit. but you do have to be driving too fast for the road conditions. This might make all the difference between a fatality and a nasty accident.

anyway enough of that. we are talking about stalking!

steve :lol:

Nick Gordon

Well-Known Member
As I posted earlier, we all know different forces interpret the same law differently.

It is a fact that as soon as you have any degree of human decision making there will be differences.

Changing from a police to a civilian administration will not change that no matter what training etc the civilians may get.

The granting of a firearms licence shoud never be reduced to produce a pass certificate of some sort and get a licence in exchange.

Like it or not, the grant of a firearms licence is a privlege not a right and the law gives people the right to appeal if they are unhappy with the decision of the Chief Constable.


Well-Known Member
The granting of a firearms licence shoud never be reduced to produce a pass certificate of some sort and get a licence in exchange.

But Nick that is exactly what's happening.
If you have the money to do a DSC1, you will be granted a deer legal calibre

FACT, a mate of mine did it just last week


Well-Known Member
FACT it's not what's happenning

Your experience is not representative of the whole picture.

i know 3 people from different forces who have got tickets in the last month none of them have a DSC1


Well-Known Member
No you are correct Swampy,but what i'm saying is that if you do a DSC you will be handed out a Deer legal calibre.and probably open from the off.

I Know of a shooter who last year completed a firearms safety course (he is a fox shooter), yet his ticket remained closed, despite the fact that it's the same safety course as on the DSC1.and that he has shot rimmies for years

The difference between the two courses being the DSC1 deals with Deer and all its bits and bobs, as far as safety is concerned there is no difference,

yet the DSC1 candidate had his ticket opened up instantly even tho he is not an experienced shooter, other than on approved ranges. and has NEVER fired a shot in anger outside of a shooting gallery

Bizarre very Bizarre

How does learning to gralloch, and inspect a deer carcase make me a safer shot?

Incidentally, both shooters share the same shooting land. and I think that makes it even more bizarre


Site Staff
This is all very interesting, and it is good to see that so many of you / us think a little beyond our next outing or whatever. It does seem from reading the tread so far, that the main issues are anomalies within the application of the guidelines, FEO training with regard to practical firearms use, and the exorbitant prices charged in respect of the magic, and in some instances, almost worthless pieces of paper the DSC 1.

Personally, I do not believe that there is a need for a National Rifle Bureau, but I do think that there is a need for all FEO's to have standardised training. The Firearms legislation as it stands at the moment is perfectly workable and feasible, what is needed is a nationwide interpretation of the guidelines, thereby enabling FEO's in all the Police areas nationally to share a similar outlook. This being achieved by a national training database for the FEOs.

I think that retaining FEOs at a force level is a necessary thing, as they are more in touch with the people on their ground, and would not be viewed as a faceless bureaucrat. The personal touch provided by an FEO is, usually, welcome, rewarding and reassuring, also after national training, universal

With regard to the prices being charged by various organisations for obtaining a level 1 DSC, well that is separate from the FAC side of matters. This is more of an almost palpable case of greed, they are all trying to suckle at the tits of the cash cow. Do they think it will never run dry? and if it does will it be time to trot out a new one? I don't know how it can be, or even if it will be, achieved but the answer must surely lay with the shooting fraternity.

Well, that's what I think


Wobbly Harry

Active Member
This realy is a hard one. Firstly ther are certainly different standards applied by different Police forces all over the country. This is always the case were the law is concerned - open to interpretation by whoever is trying to use it for whatever reason. Just look at sentencing, Judge Jefferies would hang you whilst MsC Booth QC. would take an entirely different view & plead your case in front of the European Court of Justice whilst taking a large sum towards her mortgage.

On the other hand trying to set up any National Agency would probably be a total disaster as anything similar wheeled out by the government is underfunded,ill thought out & plagued by "computer problems"

This would then lead to the last course of action. Harmonisation with Europe. That one would without doubt be the bitter bloody end.

Can't say that I know an answer. :confused:

Bandit Country

Well-Known Member
I am all for a properly constituted and regulated National Firearms Licensing organisation for various reasons.

Deliver a consistent and uniform interpretation of UK firearms law.
Improve the currently ineffective - if not criminal - management of licensing and certification.
Divest Chief Constables of the anamolous licensing of a legal activity.

Which is three for starters....

Various forces interpret the law and ACPO guidance differently. With 43 forces across the nation it is going to be unfair, undemocratic, confusing, frustrating and doesn't promote confidence in the police. It's simply bonkers.

I am so fed up with the constant inability of Police Forces (sorry that should be "Services") to get FACs and SG Certs renewed on time. I have had a number of occassions when I have been told by the local Constabulary it's OK to hang on to my guns even though my cert has run out - just so long as I don't take them out of the Force (Service?) area. When I ask about police authority to change or modify the law at their own behest there is a long pause. Their management incompetence effectively criminalises me - which is slightly ironic and we all know the Police don't 'do' irony! You simply wouldn't put up with such rubbish paid for service from anyone else, would you?

What other activity do the police license? Doctors? Drugs? Drivers? Cars? Pubs? MoT Centres? Fishing? Pilots? Train drivers? Gas Engineers? Financial Advisers? So why guns? The arguement that "guns are dangerous" looks a bit weak when you think about how many folk Harold Shipman bumped off.

My guess? Old bill doesn't want to give up 'control'. You only have to think about the fiasco of getting us all on to the NPC. Frankly, I could do it easier running a home PC with MS Access. Home visits and enquiries? Look at the way we exchange information on this site. How difficult would it be for someone who wants to have a SG or FAC to apply online. Details emailed to someone like Swampy or WSM300 or anyone who has opted in done the training, suitably vetted and with the time to spare, is detailed off for the home visit(s). You don't need the brains of an Irish Archbishop to see that the whole service could be delivered far more effectively and I reckon far more reliably - but it has to be removed from the Police.
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