Jake Davison shot five people dead and left two others with life-changing injuries on Thursday evening in Plymouth, before taking his own life.
The weapon Davison used was described by witnesses as a “pump action shotgun”.
Police have not yet confirmed this assessment, although a weapon was found on site.
Police have confirmed there will be an independent review into how the 22-year-old gunman was a licensed firearms holder as the public question how such a mass shooting – the first in the UK for more than decade – could have happened.
How strict are the UK gun licensing rules?
The government claims: “Firearms control in the UK is among the toughest in the world and as a result firearms offences continue to make up a small proportion (less than 0.2 percent) of recorded crime.”
To possess a firearm or shotgun, a certificate must first be issued by the police to allow the individual in question to possess, buy or acquire the weapon.
The individual must be assessed by the police and prove they have “good reason to own the firearm” before getting their licence.
The gov.uk website states: “The authority rests with local police forces rather than a central licensing authority because of the local information that police will use to inform their judgement.”
This process usually involves interviews, visits to the individual’s property, criminal record checks and references from friends. The applicant’s GP may be contacted as well.
There needs to be a separate certificate for buying ammunition.
These certificates usually last five years from the date of issue or renewal, will include a photograph of the user and information about the firearm.
Those seeking a certificate need to prove to the chief officer of police they are not a danger to the public’s safety or to public peace by possessing a firearms.
The gov.uk website states: “A shotgun certificate will not be given or renewed if the chief officer of police has a reason that you should not be allowed to have a shotgun under the Firearms Act. Or if they do not think you have a good reason to have, buy or use a shotgun.”
Davison’s YouTube account raises questions
Devon and Cornwall police chief constable Shaun Sawyer confirmed the authorities were not aware of any history of mental health or affiliation with right-wing terror groups, and did not mention any previous convictions linked to Davison.
But the police have said they are now trawling through Davison’s online accounts to understand what motivated the mass shooting.
YouTube has also now terminated Davison’s account because it “violates our offline behaviour policy”.
In what appears to be the last YouTube video he posted, Davison said: “I know it’s a movie but I like to think sometimes I’m the Terminator or something.
“Despite reaching almost total system failure he keeps trying to accomplish his mission.”
He also referenced the word “blackpilled” in his last YouTube post, which is an online word linked to nihilism and fatalism.
In another video, he said: “Most people would have been completely and utterly broken if they had lived my f*cked life and I know that for a fact.
“I’m not trying to say pity party or I’m the biggest victim in the world. But I know for a fact that if people had lived my f*cked life they wouldn’t have lasted.”
Davison also used his social media accounts to demonstrate his interest in guns. He liked other YouTube accounts which had plenty of firearms content, such as “The Gun Collective” and “God family and guns”.
Chief constable Sawyer said: “Is terrorism a potential [motive]? Let’s see what’s on his computer, on his hard drive. But at the moment we have nothing to suggest that. We believe it was a domestic incident which spilled out into the street.”
Did Davison have a licence for the gun he used?
It’s not entirely clear yet what kind of firearm Davison used, according to the police.
If witnesses are correct and he did use a “pump action shotgun”, that firearm is legal in the UK.
Some antique firearms that could be possessed without a certificate now need licensing before September 22 2021.