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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

01 AUG 2013

New firearms guidance to protect victims of domestic violence

Police - istockphotoIndividuals with a history of domestic violence should not be permitted to possess a firearm or shotgun, according to new Home Office guidance.

The guidance provides for every incident of domestic violence to prompt a police review of whether the certificate holder should be allowed to hold a firearm without posing a danger to the public.

The new guidance will form part of the Firearms Guide, which police forces use when deciding whether to grant a certificate to an applicant.

The guidance states that when police officers receive information about an applicant having a history of domestic violence, they should consider interviewing their family, friends and associates.

It also contains new provisions that will allow the police to speak to the applicant's partner, who might be a victim of abuse. The information the partner gives must be treated confidentially and police would need to take steps to make sure they are safe from possible reprisals.

The partner would not have to approve an application for a firearms certificate - that responsibility would still lie with the police, who would also consult their own force's domestic violence unit.

The guidance also says police would not have to rely on a criminal conviction for domestic violence when considering applications. They would be able to consider police intelligence about an incident, looking at how recent it was and whether it was isolated behaviour or part of a pattern.

The new guidance was published here

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