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Police using procedure to punish.

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Re: Police using procedure to punish.

Postby shootist » Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:34 pm

dls wrote:No, no no.
There is no right to a gun licence. It is a privilege granted to those who inter alia, demonstrate a proper understanding of the need to comply with the associated administrative arrangements.

I do not accept for a second that he is being 'punished'.


I beg to differ. Once a person demonstrates good character and provides good reason for owning a firearm then he is entitled to, and has a right to, a firearms certificate and such firearms as he provides good reason to own which will be listed on his FAC. It is not a privilege. This is for S.1 firearms. For S.2 (shotguns) the applicant only has to show good character. The police then have to show good reason why the applicant should not be issued with a shotgun certificate.
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Re: Police using procedure to punish.

Postby shootist » Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:49 pm

Smouldering Stoat wrote:I think it would be something of a stretch to describe this as a punishment. The Firearms Act requires the Police to form a judgment as to whether a person is fit to hold a certificate, with all due respect I think it would be difficult to argue that the Police were acting ultra vires or that their decision was Wednesbury unreasonable. The Police were acting under a specific statutory power which gives them wide discretion. Surely it is fundamental to the registration system that firearms must not be lost track of, and the firearms in the possession of an individual must be known to the Police. If an individual fails to comply with those requirements it must call that fitness into question. Was an appeal against the refusal to renew the certificate made?

For the avoidance of doubt my answer would be the same if "cats" were substituted for "firearms" in the above paragraph.


I understand your argument but what purpose does a two year 'suspension' serve to demonstrate that the individual concerned was fit to hold a certificate again, and under the exact same conditions as were held at the time it was held before? If not informing the police of the acquisition made him unfit to possess firearms then how come he gets it back at all? It was nothing whatever to do with fitness to hold a certificate.

By way of comparison, the police lose such notifications on a fairly regular basis. I've had two phone calls over the years about the same thing. My response was to tell them that I've sent the notification and either the post office or the police have lost it. The world did not end. One of the Yorkshire police forces fairly recently wrote to a large number of certificate holders politely requesting that they confirm the details and serial numbers as part of a routine check. It turned out that they had failed to record them.
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Re: Police using procedure to punish.

Postby Smouldering Stoat » Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:04 pm

By his own admission he committed an offence in relation to his registration. He is not of good character. He is a criminal. He knew the law, and he chose to ignore it. If he really thinks that failure to comply with his legal duties in relation to his firearms registration is a mere "clerical error" then he has displayed a contempt for the law which is incompatible with ownership of a cat. I mean, gun. The Police rightly decline to renew his certificate. Either that decision is confirmed by the Court (in which case he can hardly complain that the Police decision is unlawful), or he decides to accept the decision (in which case the same applies).

Two years pass. In the meantime he has taken the opportunity to show he is of good character by keeping out of trouble and helping old ladies across the road. The Police decide that he is now entitled to have his certificate returned.

Sorry, nothing unlawful there.
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Re: Police using procedure to punish.

Postby theycantdothat » Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:07 pm

shootist wrote:I take it you mean didn't follow the rules.


Yes. Sorry about the missing "not".
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Re: Police using procedure to punish.

Postby shootist » Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:04 pm

Smouldering Stoat wrote:By his own admission he committed an offence in relation to his registration. He is not of good character. He is a criminal. He knew the law, and he chose to ignore it. If he really thinks that failure to comply with his legal duties in relation to his firearms registration is a mere "clerical error" then he has displayed a contempt for the law which is incompatible with ownership of a cat. I mean, gun. The Police rightly decline to renew his certificate. Either that decision is confirmed by the Court (in which case he can hardly complain that the Police decision is unlawful), or he decides to accept the decision (in which case the same applies).

Two years pass. In the meantime he has taken the opportunity to show he is of good character by keeping out of trouble and helping old ladies across the road. The Police decide that he is now entitled to have his certificate returned.

Sorry, nothing unlawful there.


He is not a criminal, as he hasn't been convicted in court.

I think that really is taking things too far. Why do you say he has displayed a contempt for the law? If you forget your anniversary one year, have you displayed contempt for your wife? I don't know if he thinks that failing to comply with his legal duties is a mere clerical error as they were my words. This even if the police display an equal contempt for the law and practice of firearms management. Of course, if you disagree, then how would you feel if the police arbitrarily removed your car for an unspecified time for failing to sign your driving licence, clearly showing contempt for the law?

I would point out that prior to his clerical error he was of sufficiently good character to own firearms for many years. How do you know that he was of good character for two years rather than just not getting caught? That two years proves absolutely nothing. How do the police know you were of good character for the preceding two years? What if he had forgotten his wife's anniversary? Would that be sufficient reason for refusing his FAC? I doubt it.

If it mattered so much then the police should have prosecuted him. Instead they chose to act outside their authority, ignoring a perfectly viable prosecution which, IIRC, is a summary offence, so hardly expensive.
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Re: Police using procedure to punish.

Postby Smouldering Stoat » Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:21 pm

Your choice of analogy is rather revealing.
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Re: Police using procedure to punish.

Postby shootist » Mon Mar 14, 2016 9:30 am

Smouldering Stoat wrote:Your choice of analogy is rather revealing.


Which one, and how?
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Re: Police using procedure to punish.

Postby atticus » Mon Mar 14, 2016 9:33 am

How many had you used in your last post but one?
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Re: Police using procedure to punish.

Postby dls » Mon Mar 14, 2016 10:38 am

Shootist, I am sorry, but clerical error doesn't cut it. I might not describe it as straightforwardly criminal, but it is in a context where such mistakes really should not be allowed.

The US are disastrously peculiar in having the idea that you have a right to a gun unless. Here, it is correctly the reverse. You earn a licence by demonstrating your proper respect for the administration of the rules.

It is not a right. He is not being punished. he has failed to earn that which he desires.
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Re: Police using procedure to punish.

Postby atticus » Mon Mar 14, 2016 10:46 am

In the same way that the wife whose anniversary has been overlooked might withdraw certain privileges?
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