Scales of Justice

Have a query about UK gun laws? Wondering how to get your shotgun licence or firearms certificate? How to store your gun and how to transport it? What happens if you have been in ill-health?

Here are the answers to the questions and many more concerning gun ownership.

Our experts have written many different articles on gun law, with regular updates when legislation changes. Browse through the topics here to find the answers you are looking for.

gun lending rules

Gun lending rules

Q: When a person lends a shotgun to a non-certificate holder on 
a private shoot, must the gun be 
on their certificate? Loans of shotguns and gun lending on private premises is now regulated by 
the Policing and Crime Act 2017. Section 130 of the act merely states: “A person…

woman with pheasant on shoot

The Code of Good Shooting Practice – why you should read it again

If you’re a responsible shooter, then you need to know the standards the shooting code sets … The Code of Good Shooting Practice — a summary Shooting behaviour: individuals must observe safety, the law and respect for quarry and other wildlife. Responsible shooting: Guns must shoot within their capabilities; shoots…

Should our police be armed?

When you’re up against today’s breed of religious nutter, who’d want a job as a tactical cop in a firearms response team? Slotting an escaped bullock or a gun-wielding loner in a quiet country lane is one thing; dropping a knife crazed fanatic in a crowded city street, something entirely different.…

Man shooting semi auto

A victory for common sense over EU gun laws

These proposals have been under consideration and ongoing debate for more than two years and originally included changes criticised as unnecessarily restrictive. Plans to tighten European gun laws were made following the shootings at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris in January 2015, but were brought forward by the European…

shotgun barrel

Can I break my gun down into parts to store it?

Q: I need to buy a gun safe for my house, but I don’t have room for a full-size cabinet. I will therefore need to break my gun down into its parts to store it. Will this cause any problems with the gun? A: None whatsoever. Shotguns are designed to be broken…

Vintage luggage

8 key things you need to know before you take a gun abroad

A: Firstly congratulations. It’s on my bucket list. I very much like the idea of enjoying a little early sunshine, shooting and eating a little jamon Ibérico washed down with some manzanilla. Let us know how you get on. If you are going with a sporting agent they will normally make all the necessary arrangements to take a gun…

shotgun in car

Can I keep a shotgun in my mum’s house?

David says: You need to raise the matter with your licensing department. Somehow I don’t think they’d be happy with such an arrangement. Personally I wouldn’t be too worried about transporting your gun to and from Devon provided you take the standard precautions when the gun is in the car. Another possibility would be for your Mum to get…

pile of paper

Firearms licensing in the Thames Valley

“What we know from experience is that widespread use of these [Section 7 permits] places an additional administrative demand on the Licensing Department which far from resolving the problem for our licence holders ultimately exacerbates it.” That’s from a letter sent to me by Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Andy Taylor, writing with the advice of the licensing manager Zoey Evans, in February…

shooting at dusk

Is it legal for me and my friends to swap guns?

Peter Glenser replies: A: In short, yes absolutely. Assuming you both have valid shotgun certificates there is no reason at all why you shouldn’t do as you ask. The law allows a certificate holder to borrow a shotgun from another certificate holder for up to 72 hours without needing to…

shotgun in car boot

Gun security in your car – your responsibilities

Now that the season is fully under way, I think that a timely reminder about gun security in your car would not go amiss. I’m told by my colleague, Detective Chief Superintendent Jo Chilton of the National Ballistic Intelligence Service, that there have been targeted thefts of shotguns in the North West. Certificate holders are responsible people and…

deerstalkers with deer

Lords pass “very helpful” changes to firearms laws

Shooting organisations have welcomed two improvements to firearms law passed last week by the House of Lords and adopted by the Government as amendments to the Policing and Crime Bill. The first of these changes permits an eight-week extension to the life of a firearms certificate so long as renewal documents were submitted eight weeks ahead of its expiry date.…

Air rifle certificate deadline

Scottish owners have 50 days left to apply for air gun certificate

Scottish air gun owners are being reminded that from today they have 50 days left to apply for a certificate to ensure that they can keep their weapons when the new laws come into force on 31 December 2016, if they have not yet received a decision on their application.…

firearms licensing system

The firearms licensing system could do better

In September 2015 HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) published its report into the efficiency and effectiveness of the firearms licensing system. It had the infelicitous title “Targeting the Risk” which rather suggests that legitimate firearms owners are a problem – we aren’t. Moreover it later goes on to talk about its recommendations “all of which are designed to protect the…

GP with patient

British Medical Association makes U-turn on licence fees

The British Medical Association (BMA) has advised GPs not to provide shooters’ medical information to the police without a fee and suggested that it is acceptable to withhold the service on ethical grounds. The new encoded reminder system was introduced in April. It requires GPs to provide the police with any information suggesting an applicant should not be in…

Man with gun and shot rabbit

Knee-jerk legislation dropped from EU Firearms Directive

A revised set of amendments to the EU Firearms Directive has been drafted, removing some of those proposals that had been criticised as unnecessary restrictions on lawful gun owners. Following the terrorist attacks in Paris last year, the European Commission brought forward plans to tighten gun laws, including a ban on semi-automatic .22 rimfires and new age limitations, despite a…


Travelling with your gun

If you’re going to be shooting abroad with your shotgun or rifle then you need to plan ahead. As usual, this is largely because you’re going to have to apply and receive the documents that will let you transport your guns legally. European Firearms Pass If you want to take…

air rifle

Own an airgun? Planning on visiting Scotland?

  A:  The Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015 comes into force on 1 January 2017. After that date, a visitor to Scotland who wants to bring his or her air weapon with them must apply to the Chief Constable of Police Scotland for a visitor permit and will have…