Under the Firearms (Amendment) Rules announced on August 7, those applying for both shotgun and firearm certificates in England, Wales and Scotland will use a single form for grants and renewals. A separate form allowing applicants to apply for different types of firearm will also be introduced.
Shotgun certificate applicants previously requiring a countersignature from a limited range of professionally qualified people will now be able to obtain an endorsement from any ‘referee’ they have known for at least two years. The police force concerned will carry out background and security checks as normal.
Firearm certificate holders will continue to be limited in the maximum amount of ammunition they are legally able to posses. However, restrictions on how much they can purchase at one time have been removed, providing the maximum allowances are not exceeded.
Barney White-Spunner, executive chairman of the Countryside Alliance said: “The government and police are to be commended for the work they have done, in collaboration with the shooting community, to make the initial application form for firearm and shotgun certificate simpler and for bringing this to fruition so quickly.
“There is still work to be done in updating firearms licensing practice and guidance to both improve efficiency and reduce unnecessary bureaucracy, but the Countryside Alliance looks forward to continuing to work with the government and police forces during this process, while continuing to ensure there is no compromise of public safety.”
BASC’s senior firearms officer Mike Eveleigh said: “BASC has been working with the Home Office and the police for some time to modernise the initial application process. A sample of BASC members tested several variants of the new forms which helped greatly. These changes will remove several layers of unnecessary bureaucracy and make the initial form-filling simpler and easier to understand.”