Should you have them with you at all times?

Q: Do I need to carry my shotgun certificate or firearms licence with 
me whenever I go stalking or shooting, or 
is it OK to carry a photocopy?

A: The law says that you must produce your certificates if asked to do so by a police officer. 
If you cannot do so, he is entitled 
to seize any firearms or ammunition in your possession and retain them until such time as you can satisfy 
him that you had lawful authority 
to possess them.

Important legal documents

However, shotgun certificates and firearm licences are important legal documents. It is easy for them to become lost or damaged if carried in the field every time you go stalking and there is a strong argument for keeping the originals in a safe place 
at home and taking a photocopy of your current certificate with you.

A photocopy is clear evidence

If you were to be stopped, 
a photocopy represents clear evidence that you are indeed a certificate holder. Furthermore, the officer in question can immediately check that your certificate is valid and has not, for example, been revoked.

Check your shotgun certificate

All shotgun owners have to renew their certificate every five years so check yours regularly to see when yours is due.

It pays to think ahead especially when dealing with renewals. Do not wait for a police renewal letter. Get your renewal application to the police at least 12 weeks before your certificate is due to expire.

You can download a renewal application here. 

Don’t get caught out by a slow response from your issuing police force – it can take quite a while to get your certificate through depending on where you live.

A temporary permit

If your certificate expires before you receive a valid replacement, you should ask for a temporary permit, issued under Section 7 of the Firearms Act 1968. It should be granted in the event of an administrative delay where the applicant has submitted their application in good time.