Owning and using a gun should be ‘a privilege and not a right,’ according to Devon and Cornwall’s crime commissioner in a new report compiled in the wake of the Keyham shootings in Plymouth.

Shortly after 6pm on August 12, 2021, Jake Davison went on a killing spree in which five people, including a three-year-old girl and Davison’s own mother, were killed in the Keyham area of Plymouth. Two more people were injured, and 22-year-old Davison later turned the gun on himself.

The apprentice crane operator was armed with a legally-held pump-action shotgun.

At an inquest last year, senior coroner Ian Arrow said there had been a ‘serious failure’ on the part of Devon and Cornwall Police in granting and later failing to revoke Mr Davison’s shotgun licence.

The Home Office asked all police forces in England and Wales to review their gun licensing practices immediately.

A meeting of the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Panel in Plymouth this Friday will see a report from police and crime commissioner Alison Hernandez on firearms licensing in the two counties.

It is an overview of actions taken since the shootings. The same meeting will also receive a report into how the Keyham community has recovered.

Devon and Cornwall’s rural setting means its police manage the highest number of firearms certificates and licences of all forces, with around 40,000 of them.

The force’s recently-appointed chief constable, Will Kerr, said previously that Jake Davison should not have been issued with a shotgun licence when he applied in 2017, and that he should not have had it returned to him in 2021 after he assauled someone the previous year.

Changes since the shootings include reversing an earlier decision to merge Devon and Cornwall’s firearms and explosives licensing services with those in neighbouring Dorset.

Ms Hernandez has written to the policing minister raising her concerns following the findings of the Inquest, and to advocate for national changes.

The report to Friday’s meeting says: ‘The existing legislation for firearms licensing is complex and fragmented. The legislation requires a legal presumption in favour of granting certificates for both firearms and shotguns.

‘It is clear that there are many cases in which a firearm may be requisite for an industry or occupation, but in most cases possession should be a privilege rather than a right.

‘The commissioner has therefore asked the minister for policing to review legislation in order to better enable police forces to undertake more robust decision-making where required, both in relation to initial grants and revocations.”

Ms Hernandez suggests moving to a new national licensing unit rather than the current force level model, and also says gun licence fees – currently around £80 – should be reviewed so they more accurately reflect the costs faced by police forces in dealing with applications.

The report goes on: ‘The commissioner’s thoughts remain with the families who have lost loved ones, as well as those who survived this horrific incident.

‘We must ensure that the legacy for all of those who have been so tragically affected is that we deliver effective and enduring changes both locally and nationally to firearms licensing rules, procedures and policies, and build a positive future for the community of Keyham.’