BASC has deemed protracted delays in processing firearms licences in Northern Ireland “unacceptable”, and says the issue should be dealt with urgently.
In several cases, it has taken over a year for individuals to receive a decision regarding their application. New applicants and current FAC holders are both being affected. Taking one example, a gamekeeper with 40 years’ experience had applied for a different calibre rifle for fox control. He was kept in suspense for more than seven months.
Director of BASC Northern Ireland, Tommy Mayne said: “Licence checks must be thorough and must protect public safety, but these lengthy and systematic delays are totally unacceptable. Police-approved firearms certificates must be renewed every five years. People are being put in a position where their legal authority to own firearms expires before a decision is made.
“BASC has raised the issue of these delays with senior firearms licensing officers, with the NI Assembly Committee for Justice, with the Justice Minister and members of the Northern Ireland Policing Board.”