A SHOOTING group has hit-out at new rules for firearm applicants.

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) say the rules enforced by Thames Valley Police will lead to a postcode lottery.

The new rules mean that applicants will have to pay their GP to fill in a special medical form, before police can even consider granting a licence.

The idea is similar to paying for a doctor's note to say that you're medically fit to fly.

Previously applicants only had to list relevant medical conditions plus details of their GP practice for the police to chase up.

But the stricter rules will now mean people will have to pay for a pre-application medical screening.

Read more about the new rule here

A spokesperson for the group says that four years ago the same government negotiated an agreement under which no extra costs were to be imposed on the shooting community.

But now the rules have been branded unfair by BASC who say GPs are under to obligation to do the screening – which can lead to complications and a delay in getting the licence, or charge a reasonable fee to do it.

He said: "Thames Valley Police have not secured an agreement with Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Local Medical Committees on a reasonable fee for GPs to verify applicants’ medical declarations.

"Without such an agreement in place the policy change will result in firearm and shotgun certificate holders being subject to a postcode lottery."

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The new way of doing things will have to do be done for all firearm and shotgun applications, including renewals which happen every five years, whether the person declares a medical condition or not.

The BASC are 'strongly opposed' to the new way and the spokesperson said: "We believe that the policy should be withdrawn with immediate effect."

The group, which claim to be the largest shooting association in the UK, have now written to the chief constable, police and crime commissioner Anthony Stansfeld and the county's MPs to try and get a 'statutory obligation' imposed on doctors surgeries.

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The group also want Thames Valley Police to 'improve gun safety' and add an 'encoded marker' onto doctors files of residents who could own a gun.

The marker system makes it easier for GPs to inform the police if they think a firearms or shotgun certificate holder should not be in possession of a gun.

Thames Valley Police did not comment on whether they were reviewing the new rules or making any changes.