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Do my shotguns have to be kept at my home address?

A reader wonders if he can keep them at his girlfriend's house. David Frost gives some legal advice.

share a gun gun cabinet

Clever and practical - this gun cabinet doubles up as a coat rack

Q: If I apply for a shotgun licence do the guns have to be kept at my home address?

I currently live in a bedsit and could not keep them there but my girlfriend lives in a secure three bedroom semi-detached house, which is alarmed and would provide a secure environment. The key to the gun cabinet would be kept hidden at my girlfriend’s but she would be unaware as to where it was kept. We spend a lot of time together but don’t live together.

I understand the law is extremely strict with gun licences so I am unsure as to where I stand in this situation. Any advice you can give me would be very welcome. Thanks.

The legal side


No, you don’t have to keep your guns at your home address. Plenty of gun owners don’t.

  • However you must apply to the police force responsible for the area in which you live, rather than that where the guns are kept. Whether the police will be happy with you keeping guns in a property where there is no resident certificate holder is another matter.
  • You cannot leave the gun cabinet key there.
  • I suggest you apply to the police force and see what they say. The fee is only charged if a certificate is granted so there is no cost to you if it is refused.
  • Another option would be for your girlfriend to apply for a certificate, which would have your guns on it as well as them being on your own.
  • She doesn’t need to be an active shooter in order to have a certificate.
  • Either way it is the job of the police to make it as easy as possible for you to get a certificate and they should be able to come to some arrangement that will enable you to do so.

You don’t say why you can’t keep your gun in the bedsit. Look carefully at your tenancy agreement, it may not forbid a gun cabinet. Why not have a chat with your landlord and see what they say.