Gun owners face new health record checks: Commercial company may check medical histories of gun applicants after Plymouth massacre
- The plans would allow the records of shooting enthusiasts – including mental health issues – to be published confidentially by their GP
- The records would only be released 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
Firearm owners’ medical records could be checked by a trading company following the Plymouth massacre.
The Home Office is in the process of making plans to allow the records of shooting enthusiasts – including mental health issues – to be disclosed in confidence by their GPs.
The records would only be released with the consent of anyone applying for a firearms or shotgun certificate, it is understood.
The proposed scheme is designed to circumvent the reluctance of some general practitioners to produce reports for applicants for firearms licenses.
The medical records of gun owners could be checked by a trading company following the Plymouth massacre. Pictured: Jake Davison who murdered five people with a shotgun
A consultation paper produced by the Home Office two years ago said some general practitioners were citing a “conscientious objection to private ownership of firearms.”
Others refuse to participate citing a lack of mental health expertise, while others charge high fees.
A source from the Home Office said: “This idea of third party access to medical records is currently under very close scrutiny. It is one way to take GPs out of the equation as some of them refuse. to get involved at all. ‘
The proposal could be part of new directives to be issued to the police force which will be issued by Interior Minister Priti Patel in the coming weeks.
No decision has yet been made on whether police will for the first time be required to obtain a medical report on applicants for firearms licenses. But it emerged yesterday that new police checks will include reviews of social media posts in a bid to weed out those who may be unstable.
This followed widespread concern that police in Devon and Cornwall were unaware of online rants by Plymouth gunman Jake Davison, who murdered five people with a shotgun last week.
Police chief Shaun Sawyer said officers were not watching the social media activity of firearms license applicants as it would be “an invasion of privacy.”
Davison, 22, was stripped of his shotgun license in December after being involved in an assault. But it was returned to him just weeks before the horrific massacre on Thursday.
The 566,000 holders of firearms or shotgun certificates in England and Wales are now subject to additional security checks – although deadlines have yet to be confirmed.
Police forces are currently not obligated to follow Home Office guidelines on how to manage firearms licenses in their area.
But the proposed new guidelines – which will have to be approved by Parliament – would be mandatory.