UK Shooting News describes the latest supervisory crackdown by British authorities on firearms access.
Security services have quietly acquired the details of every single person in the UK with access to firearms and put them on a database with known terrorists. …
All new members of Home Office approved rifle clubs have their personal details â€“ name, address, telephone number, and so on â€“ transmitted to the police by the club. This data transmission is a condition of clubs securing Home Office approval, which is a legal status that allows non-firearm certificate holders to handle firearms and shoot at club events.
Once that information is received by the police, it is run through the same databases used to vet firearm and shotgun certificate holders: the Police National Computer, local force intelligence databases (such as STORM), the Police National Database (to look up the history of properties associated with that person), and Special Branchâ€™s records.
Police forces typically make no response to applicants or clubs unless a personâ€™s history returns a hit. Although the Home Officeâ€™s intent with this system was to allow rifle clubs to work together with police in managing risks associated with new members, in the one case where UK Shooting Newsâ€™ author was involved as a club secretary, all the Metropolitan Police would say is â€œwe would not grant this person an FAC [“Firearms Certificate”]â€ despite repeated questioning. It turned out that the prospective member in question had accepted a caution for ABH [“Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm”] when he was 18, having been caught up in a mass pub brawl. …
As well as rifle club members, FAC, SGC [“Shotgun Certificate” and RFD [“Registered Firearms Dealer”] holders and their servants, the database is likely to include armed forces personnel and reservists, police employees, volunteer cadet instructors, Border Force employees, security services employees, large civilian shipsâ€™ crews (signalling equipment is typically licensed as firearms), MoD contractors, some private security firmsâ€™ employees, and probably a multitude of other categories as well.
A conservative estimate of the number of people these categories cover suggests the numbers run into the millions â€“ meaning that slightly more than 1 in 65 of the entire UK population is now on a state database alongside known terrorists. Moreover, the existence of a single database with personal details of people who can lay their hands on legal firearms is an instant target for hackers working in concert with organised crime, terrorists or even foreign state actors. The very fact that it exists makes every member of the licensed firearms community less safe and more exposed to criminals and terrorists.