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