MORE than 100 new applications for firearm or shotgun licences were approved in Gwent in the past year.

Statistics from the Home Office show that in the year to March, Gwent Police approved 133 new applications for firearm or shotgun licences.

In the same period, they revoked 12 licences and refused permission for two new applications.

Since the recording of the firearm and shotgun licences began in 2008, the force has approved 3,686 applications, revoked 134 licences and refused 20 renewal applications.

According to the figures, 5,617 people in Gwent held shotgun or firearm licences in March – out of more than 560,000 in England and Wales.

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Following the mass shooting in Plymouth earlier this month, police forces across England and Wales have been urged to review their firearm application processes.

Jake Davison killed five people and injured two others before turning the gun on himself following his gun licence being reinstated – just months after being revoked after a fight.

A firearms certificate can be revoked for a number of reasons including:

  • If a holder presents a danger to the public;
  • If a holder is of “intemperate habits or unsound mind”;
  • If a holder no longer has a good reason to possess a firearm;
  • If the holder has failed to comply with conditions under which the certificate is held.

Statutory guidance is being prepared by the UK Government to ensure ‘greater consistency and higher standards’ of decision making around the licensing. One of the changes is likely to be a greater scrutiny of the applicant’s internet and social media use.


National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for firearms licensing Deputy Chief Constable Dave Orford said: “Police forces are responsible for issuing firearms certificates to individuals and will only do so after their application has been assessed by a dedicated team of experts, a robust process of background checks is completed and the individual meets criteria set out in the Home Office’s national legislation.

“If a certificate holder has a change of circumstances that mean they no longer have good reason to own a firearm or a change in suitability, for example if they become involved in criminality or there is a health-related issue, then their certificate can be revoked.

“Since 2016, forces have been following a Home Office scheme where medical information is requested from doctors when the applicant applies for, or renews, their certificate. The Home Office has been consulting on changes to the current statutory guidance, including processes for sharing medical information and guidance on social media checks.

“All forces will be reviewing their current firearm licence application processes ahead of the new statutory guidance being published by the Home Office.”

Gwent Police were contacted for comment but said they had nothing to add.

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation believe the process the government is working on has taken too long, saying they had warned consecutive government ministers of deadly consequences if stricter vetting processes were not implemented.

The organisation want stricter processes and medical markers on applicants licences and applications.

The association’s Christopher Graffius said: “I have been calling for this since 2013 and have told ministers that we would end up with people dead, likely women.

“It is in the shooting community’s interest to ensure public safety and it is absolutely awful to see tragedies like this.”

Most gun owners are law-abiding said Gun Control Network’s Gill Marshall-Andrews. She added: “What is clear is that the more guns there are in circulation the greater the chance of an atrocity like this one in Plymouth.

“We need much more oversight of gun owners in this country.”