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Politicians hit out at 'unjustified' firearms fee


Criticism: Mervyn Storey has hit out at a £30 fee for firearms licence holders

Criticism: Mervyn Storey has hit out at a £30 fee for firearms licence holders

Criticism: Mervyn Storey has hit out at a £30 fee for firearms licence holders

A former Stormont Minister has hit out at the PSNI after it introduced a new fee of £30 to be paid by firearms licence holders if they wish to keep an ammunition magazine for their weapon.

DUP North Antrim MLA and Policing Board representative Mervyn Storey said it was "an unjustified new tax on magazines of firearms".

The plan has also come in for criticism from TUV leader Jim Allister, who has written to the Chief Constable querying the plan.

Mr Storey said: "The emergence of this new licensing requirement for additional magazines will understandably be met with dismay by firearm holders across Northern Ireland who are already subject to a great deal of red tape and continue to act in good faith.

"The PSNI may hold legitimate concern about the purchase of these items in particular circumstances but it is hard to believe that the creation of a new tax to apply unilaterally is either a fair or proportionate way forward."

In his letter to the Chief Constable, Mr Allister said the magazine licence fee was "an intolerable and unwarranted burden".

"A detachable rifle magazine has no serial number or severable identity," he said.

"It is an inherent and indispensable part of the firearm. Hence, the legitimate expectation that when the firearm is licensed the magazine is licensed under the same licensing fee," the TUV leader said.

Responding, the head of PSNI Firearms and Explosives Branch Jonathan Howarth told the Belfast Telegraph: "This change complies with the Firearms (NI) Order 2004 and reflects recent EU Council Directive 91/477/EEC.

"The Firearms (NI) Order 2004 states all component parts must be listed on a Firearms Certificate.

"This change simply brings PSNI Firearms & Explosives Branch policy in line with what has always been required under the 2004 Order.

"There is no immediate additional cost in respect of recording existing magazines held. We are not conducting a retrospective exercise.

"Magazines should be notified at the next application.

"Fees are applicable when making an application for a variation (£30) or re-grant with variation (£98)."

Belfast Telegraph