A reader asks what he has to do to obtain both a firearms licence and a shotgun certificate. Peter Glenser, barrister in firearms cases gives the answer.
Q: I would like to get a firearms licence as well as a shotgun certificate. What will I have to do to obtain one?
A: It’s not unlike the process you went through for your shotgun. You obtain the form, complete it and send it to your local police force with four photographs and a cheque. You’ll need two referees this time, not one, and you will need to have a “good reason” to possess the firearm or firearms you want. It’s worth downloading and reading the Home Office Firearms Guidance before you start because this is what the police base their decisions on. Most people begin with a rimfire in .22 or .17HMR for rabbiting or vermin control and it’s likely the police would encourage you to start in this way. Of course, if you are after a rifle for deer stalking in England you will need something over .240 and the majority of stalkers in the UK choose either a .243 and/or a .308. Some forces prefer the .17HR instead of the .22 because of the perceived ricochet danger of the .22.
They will probably start you on a “closed” certificate. This will only allow you to shoot over land you have permission to shoot on, which the chief officer of police has said is suitable for the calibre you wish to use. Later you may ask for the closed condition to be lifted, then you will be able to shoot wherever you have permission.
Whilst formal training is by no means compulsory it is a very good idea – it may help you get an open ticket sooner. BASC runs an introduction to firearms course and many shooting schools oversee similar programmes. There are many courses available for people who wish to take their DSC1. Good luck and have fun.