GUN LICENCE FEES SHOULD PAY FOR HOT LINE
Release - 15 May 2014
The debacle over the
Prime Minister’s personal intervention to block a rise in
gun licence fees continues to rumble on – and taxpayers
continue to subsidise wealthy gun owners. Currently the fee
is £10 a year – the cost of a few cups of coffee. In an
industry where people will regularly pay £1000s for a day’s
shooting and champagne that is unacceptable.
The Gun Control Network
has been told by Norman Baker, the Minister for Crime
Prevention, that the move to full cost recovery has been
agreed. But it was agreed by Damien Green, his predecessor,
so whether this Minister will succeed in doing what the
previous one failed to do remains to be seen.
The issue now is what
the licence fee is supposed to cover and what the real cost
Chair of GCN, says:
"It’s obvious that the
licence fee should cover the whole cost of administering a
rigorous licensing regime that will keep guns out of the
hands of unsuitable people and keep the public safe. That
means it should cover all administration, checks for mental
illness, domestic violence, criminal behaviour, alcohol and
drug abuse, police court costs where appeals are made, and a
hot line for families and neighbours who are concerned about
the behaviour of a gun owner. The hot line is particularly
important because we know there are many people who feel
threatened by a gun owning partner or ex partner, or even a
neighbour. Going to the police often doesn’t work for these
people so a dedicated hot line is what’s urgently needed.
Guns are lethal weapons
and they do great damage in the wrong hands. The real cost
of licensing guns is likely to be in the region of £50 a
year not £10. It will be money well spent, but it should not
be the taxpayers’ money".
WHEN WILL THE GOVERNMENT GET A GRIP ON GUN LICENSING?
Release - 26 February 2014
On Monday 24 February 2014 yet another
avoidable gun tragedy took place in Surrey. An 82-year-old
man, John Lowe, well known to the police, shot and killed a
woman and her daughter at his home. He was a shooter whose
licensed guns had been removed and then, unaccountably,
returned to him.
This has become a syndrome. Unstable
man exhibits dangerous or threatening behaviour – police are
called – police remove guns from the home – guns are
returned to the home after cautions and promises – the next
episode of violence or drunkenness results in multiple
Gill Marshall-Andrews, Chair of the Gun
Control Network, says:
“This was avoidable. If the guns had
not been returned these women would still be alive. If more
attention was paid to rigorous licensing of guns this man
would not have been allowed to keep them. If the licensing
fee was set at a proper level rather than being the price of
4 cups of coffee a year, this man might not have had guns at
Gun violence in the home is a problem
the police do not seem to understand – or if they do
understand, they choose to do nothing about it. Her
Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary needs to conduct a
wholesale review of gun licensing practice around the
country. It’s a post code lottery that shames our
society. Almost all women killed with guns are killed in the
home with legally-held weapons and most of these are
US study demonstrates that the number of guns per capita is strong
predictor of firearm-related deaths in a country
A clinical research study published in the American Journal of Medicine
in October demonstrated that the number of guns per capita is a strong
predictor of firearm-related deaths in a country.
research found little association between rates of mental illness and
gun deaths, undermining arguments that the mental health of perpetrators
is a more significant factor in shooting deaths than the ease of access
Researchers analysed data from 27 countries and found no reduction in
crime rate with increased gun-ownership. They concluded that,
“Regardless of exact cause and effect... the current study debunks the
widely quoted hypothesis that guns make a nation safer.”
> Read the
WHY IS THE
TAXPAYER SUBSIDISING GUN OWNERS?
Release - 10 September 2013
Forces are at work within government to undermine much
needed reform of firearms licensing.
At present, shooters pay £50 for a gun licence which lasts
for 5 years. This has been the same since 2001. For the
price of 4 cups of coffee a year a man can own as many
shotguns as he likes.
The police say the cost to them of processing an application
for a gun licence is £200.
With 720,000 gun licences in existence, the Home Office
estimates that the total cost to the taxpayer is
approximately £20m per year.
Gill Marshall-Andrews, Chair of the Gun Control Network,
‘This is against the public interest and against Treasury
rules. In a Treasury publication Managing Public Money
(2007) all departments are required to adhere to the
principle of full cost recovery in matters such as this.
What seems to have happened is this:
The Home Office Minister for Policing Damien Green committed
himself to full cost recovery of the licence fee. In
meetings with Andy Marsh, ACPO lead on firearms, and Bobby
Turnbull, campaigner, whose family was murdered in Horden on
New Years Day 2011, he confirmed his commitment to achieving
full cost recovery, starting with an increase in October
The proposal was then cleared by the Treasury and by the
government’s Regulatory Policy Committee. However at the
last hurdle – a new Cabinet sub-committee called the
Reducing Regulation Committee – it was blocked.
As the only people who stand to gain from this block are the
shooters themselves, it is logical to suppose that their
lobbying has been successful. The result is that the licence
fee will still cost £50 and the taxpayer will continue to
pick up the bill.'
Taxpayers Subsidise Gun Owners to the Tune of £100
Release - 27 February 2013
The terrible events of 1 January 2012 in which legal gun owner
Michael Atherton murdered his partner, her sister and his niece,
are about to be scrutinised again at the Inquest in Co. Durham on
The Gun Control Network has been working with the family and in
particular with Bobby Turnbull, whose mum, sister and aunt were
killed by Atherton with one of his legally owned shotguns.
Bobby joined members of GCN at a meeting on 25 February with
Damien Green MP, Minister for Policing, to call for ‘real reforms’
of the gun licensing laws.
Gill Marshall-Andrews, Chair of the Gun Control Network, says:
‘It is not generally known that at least half of all gun deaths
involve a shotgun - probably legally owned. It’s clear we need to
tighten up the licensing of these weapons and ensure that people
like Michael Atherton, with a history of domestic violence and
alcohol abuse, can’t own a gun.
Currently, the police do not have the resources to do a proper job
of making sure someone is a suitable person to own a gun. Gun
owners pay only £50 for a licence which lasts for 5 years. So for
£10 per year, around the price of 4 cups of coffee, a man can own
as many shotguns as he likes.
Gun ownership is a privilege that people should pay for – and
there should be no element of subsidy from the taxpayer. Police
estimate that the cost of issuing a licence is £200 which would
mean that the current level of taxpayer subsidy is over £100m.
With a more rigorous licensing regime this subsidy will rise even
higher. GCN wants to see a fee of at least £250 for a firearms or
shotgun licence. With this level of resourcing the police would be
able to consult family members, neighbours, doctors and
ex-partners about an applicant’s suitability. And they would be
able to set up a ‘hotline’ for professionals, family, colleagues
and neighbours to register their concerns about a gun owner’s
Currently women have no right to be consulted about their partner
having a gun and GCN has evidence that guns are frequently used as
instruments of threat in the home. We need to address this issue
and hope we can prevent the horrific murders that disfigure our