Just eight gun licences revoked in wake of Plymouth shooting
Just eight gun licences have been revoked by a police review ordered by Priti Patel in the wake of the mass shooting in Plymouth.
Fewer than one per cent of the 908 owners checked by police after having their guns returned to them had their licences removed, the policing minister Kit Malthouse told MPs on Monday.
The Home Secretary ordered the review after Jake Davison, 22, an apprentice crane operator, killed five people in the Keyham area of the Devon port city in August before turning the gun on himself.
His shotgun and certificate had been seized after concerns were raised following a previous assault on two youths but they were returned to him after a police review once he had completed a rehabilitation scheme.
However, it subsequently emerged Davison had received mental health support during the coronavirus lockdown from a local telephone helpline and his social media usage suggested an obsession with “incel” culture – meaning “involuntary celibate” – as well as an interest in guns.
According to data provided by forces set out in the statement, a total of 6,434 firearms and shotgun licences were surrendered, seized, revoked or refused over the previous 12-month period across England, Wales and Scotland.
Of these, 908 licences were subsequently returned or issued following further checks or appeals decided by the courts.
These were reviewed by police and “as a result of this, in eight cases the original decision was overturned and licences have been re-surrendered or revoked,” said Mr Malthouse.
Mr Malthouse said forces had confirmed their procedures are “in line with Home Office guidance”, adding: “The findings set out above provide reassurance that the police have in place robust processes for issuing and reviewing firearms and shotgun licences.”
Police must check medical history before issuing licences
New legal guidance introduced as a result of the shooting – which came into force on Monday – means police now have to check someone’s medical history before issuing a gun licence.
The Home Office has said all firearms applications must be accompanied by a medical document signed by a registered, practising doctor.
Chrissie Hall, of the Gun Control Network, said there needed to be more thorough checks including police interviews with family members and ex-partners as they were most likely to reveal any concerns and also most likely to be victims of any shooting.
She said these should be funded by charging gun owners the full cost of licences, which were currently kept at a cost by the Government that meant they were being subsidised by the taxpayer.