A young reader wants to know how old he has to be to get a firearms and shotgun certificate

Q: I am a 14-year-old boy and I spend all my spare time enjoying country sports, and join the beating line in season. At what age can I obtain a firearms and a shotgun certificate?

You have to be 14 years old before you can be granted a firearms certificate and must prove to the police that you have a good reason for possessing the firearm you wish to use, ie. a rifle. You will also have to show that you have somewhere suitable to use it. However, there is no minimum age for a shotgun certificate, though you are not allowed to use a shotgun without an adult supervisor until you are 15 years old. You do not have to show that you have somewhere to use the gun or that you are a member of a shooting club. The police can only refuse to grant a certificate if they think you do not have a good reason for possessing a gun.

The licensing process is the same for youngsters as it is for adults. However, it is always a good idea to show that you have a supportive mentor, that is a friend or family member who will guide you in your early shooting days. Support from your school can be very helpful but remember that many teachers are anti-shooting.

What you’ve learned from reading this article:

  • You need to be 14 to get a firearms certificate
  • You need to prove to the police that you have good reason for possessing the firearm
  • You need to show you have somewhere suitable to use your firearm
  • There is no minimum age for a shotgun certificate
  • However until you are 15 you need to be supervised by an adult when using a shotgun
  • You don’t have to show you have somewhere to use the shotgun or that you are a member of a shotgun club
  • It is a very good idea to have a shooting family member or friend who will support you through your early shooting days

  • Fred

    Can I buy a 410 shotgun with my 12bore shotgun license

  • Graham Kitchen

    My lad is 9 years old and has been brought up to appreciate the countryside knowing more about Game and Conservation than most adults we meet when out shooting. He shot his first driven pheasent when he was 8 with a single barrel 410 and has since shot Wood Pigeons, Rabbits, Carrion Crows and Magpies. I am going to let him apply for his Shotgun Certificate before his 10th birthday.
    The reason I write this is because I would like some advice on how he is to explain to people he meets (teachers) about what he does in his spare time. I find my son coming home from school saying things like it is illegal to shoot ducks…???? What are we teaching kids about today? Do kids think Beef is grown on polystyrene trays??? How do I address this? it is an excellent way of life and one that will help preserve this country and the environment we know and love. Thanks and sorry if this is long winded.

  • Bobby

    Hi,I am 15 year old and my brother who is 21 has got a shotgun certificiate and has a 12 gauge and a 410 ,I have been shooting with the 410 but only with supervision ,When can I shoot unsupervised?

  • Gary Chamberlain

    Hi, i was just wondering how many people holding a FAC are you aloud to have on a 1500 acre estate, for vermin control?. Many thanks


  • aaron coultard

    hi, im just turning 15 and i went shooting the other day with a freind and he said that if i got a shotgun he would let me use his land to go shooting with him. how would i get hold of a shotgun certificate and how would i then purchase one as my dad hasn’t got a certificate either but my uncle has????

  • josh

    hi i have just applied for my sgc but i have been wondering if i am not allowed to buy the gun then how do i get hold of it? my dad doesnt have a license so he cant buy it. does it mean tht if i have a license i can go into the shop but if i am under supervision from my dad he can purchase one on my license even if he doesnt have one ?
    thnxs josh

  • josh

    i am 14 next year and my dad has a firearms certificate. does this mean that if i get a firearms certificate i can shoot with a firearm without his supervision and is he allowed to ‘give’ me a firearm as a gift to go on the certificate? many thanks josh

  • william

    i also am looking to get a gun licence but i am only 13. i am 14 in april i have been beating for the last 2 years and i love it . i would like to know do you have to get a gun licence from the police? thanks

  • Dominic Elkins

    Thanks, i was wondering about this. I am an Army Cadet, and basically wanted to get more practice in with REAL rifles. Cheers.

  • Ed Newton

    well im glad youve asked tht question because ive
    been wondering what age i could get the FAC and now that its anwsered i can get a shotgun and go shoot whith my fell gunners at my local game/shooting ground.

  • george johnson

    im turning 14 and was wondering if it is leagal to get a air rifle for my birthday. will i be able to use it or will i need a license.

  • brett thompson

    hello ive just turned 15 and i herd that you can get a shotgun certificate so you can use you gun without any adult supervision is this true? if so were do i get the certificate from? cheers

  • John MacGregor

    Hi. A close friend of mine has had a lomg standing battle with the legal system, solicitors had been involved in forging his signature prior to a court case etc etc. He had written many letters to his M.P pointing out several corrupt and criminal acts,but nothing was getting done. He recently sent an e-mail to his MP and indicated he would take his shotgun with him on his next visit to his “corrupt” lawyer unless some thing more civilized could be done . The e-mail had been sent via a group called Write TO Them .com so was not sent from his mail box. However the MP notified or sent a copy to the police and within a space of 10 hrs he had been taken to the police station fingerprinted, dna,ed, photographed, and his firearm and shotgun removed from his possession he has had no communication or anything in writing as to what the positition is 3 weeks have now passed and still nothing. He had notified the Chief Constable of the criminal acts by his lawyer some time earlier but the CC replied that unless he (the CC)heard from the Law Society of wrong doing it was beyond his remit to do anything!!!!. Can you give an indication as to what the correct procedure is and what should he do now .
    My friend has been really upset by this and although retired supplements his pension by controling vermin for local farmers, He has never had any involvement with the police in his whole life. His MP in my mind has been very unhelpfull and I feel he would like him to stop “annoying” him with letters about corrupt lawyers.I am actually studying law!!!! but I am not at a stage where I can be much use but have offered to help. Hope to hear from you. Yours John MacGregor