By Shooting UK
Thursday, 14 November 2013
You need a firearms or shotgun certificate issued by the police to possess, buy or acquire a firearm or shotgun and to buy ammunition.
It was recently announced that the application process for a firearms or shotgun certificate will be simplified. From December 1, applicants will use a single form for grants and renewals. A seperate form to allow applicants to apply for different types of fiream will also be introduced.
The new rules will also relax who can sign an endorsement; anyone the applicant has known for two years will be able to countersign the application instead of someone from a limited list of professions. And firearm certificate holders will no longer be limited on how much ammunition they can buy at once, providing they don't surpass restrictions on the amount of ammunition they can possess at one time.
The good news for anyone applying for their first firearms or shotgun licence is that the process is now streamlined and easier to understand. And at the moment, it still costs £50.
The difference between a firearms certificate and a shotgun certificate
How to apply
What happens once I've sent in my application?
What if my application is refused?
Could this process change any time soon?
It 's important to note that a shotgun licence is different to a firearms certificate although both last for five years. If your gun is not classed as a shotgun then you'll need to apply for a firearms certificate. And you can't carry a shotgun on a firearms licence. The rules are different in Northern Ireland, where you will need a firearms certificate. If in doubt, it's best to consult the Firearms Licensing Unit for advice.
From April 2014 anyone applying for a gun licence will be able to do so online. The new eCommerce for Policing website is set to feature user-friendly forms, easy-to-access online help, an online payment facility and the ability to request a time slot for a visit. Email and SMS alerts will keep applicants up to date at each stage of the process.
However, the current process involves filling out paper forms and handing them to your local police station. The advice below is a guide designed to help you complete your shotgun certificate application.
To complete the application form you will need:
- An Application Form.
- An envelope to return your form.
- 4 passport style photographs.
In order to issue a shotgun licence, the police need to be satisfied that the applicant can possess a shotgun without danger to the public safety or the peace. Part of this involves checking if the applicant has any previous convictions, which means that you must accurately complete Part A of the form. You will also be asked a number of medical questions - to identify conditions which could render gun handling dangerous - and provide the name of your current GP, together with permission for the police to access your medical history.
You will then have to give details of where your gun is to be stored.
The next important bit of the form has to filled in by a counter signatory who has known you personally for at least two years. Such a person cannot be a relative, a serving policeman or police civilian employee, or a registered firearms dealer, and according to the wording should be: "...a Member of Parliament, Justice of the Peace, minister of religion, doctor, lawyer, established civil servant, bank officer, or person of similar standing."
With your application you must also provide four passport-sized photographs of yourself, one of which must be signed on the back by your counter signatory. You then return the form to the police, together with the fee (£50 at the time of writing).
If your application passes the first stage, you will get a visit from a police officer at your home. They will talk to you about your shotgun certificate application and the proposed safety arrangements you have made. It's good practice to buy a gun cabinet and make sure it complies with safety regulations as this will speed up your application.
If you are asked why you wish to own a shotgun, all you need say is you wish to take part in shooting sports.
If the police officer is satisfied, they will report this to the Chief Office of Police and your shotgun licence will be granted.
If your security was installed and the officer inspected it on his visit, the certificate can be posted to you. If your security has not been installed, your licence will be hand delivered by a Police Officer who will hand you your certificate once he is satisfied your security has been installed correctly.
Should the Chief Officer of Police refuse your application, you will be informed, in writing, giving the reasons why and of your right of appeal against the decision.
It 's important to keep an eye on shooting news as this is a very topical issue that continues to make headlines.
Previous Home Office plans to almost double the license fee to £94 were recently scrapped following
discussions with BASC and it looks highly likely that a further fee
increase - taking the cost up to £109 - is unlikely ahead of the next
However, recent news that Labour wants to shake up gun licensing law
has cast some doubt over how easy or difficult it will be to obtain a
shotgun certificate in the future. Diana Johnson, shadow Home Office
minister, wants to bring in the biggest change to licensing law since
handguns were banned in 1998.
Johnson announced plans to 'shift
the onus on to the applicant to prove their suitability' for licence and
certificate approvals. The details - and implications - of this news
are currently unknown but Shooting Times will be interviewing the MP to find out more.
you've been considering trying to get a shotgun licence or a firearms
certificate, this is something you should keep a close eye on. Keep
checking the Shooting Times website for the latest news.
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