A young reader wants to know how old he has to be to get a firearms and shotgun certificate
You have to be 14 years old before you can be granted a firearms certificate and must prove to the police that you have a good reason for possessing the firearm you wish to use, ie. a rifle. You will also have to show that you have somewhere suitable to use it. However, there is no minimum age for a shotgun certificate, though you are not allowed to use a shotgun without an adult supervisor until you are 15 years old. You do not have to show that you have somewhere to use the gun or that you are a member of a shooting club. The police can only refuse to grant a certificate if they think you do not have a good reason for possessing a gun.
The licensing process is the same for youngsters as it is for adults. However, it is always a good idea to show that you have a supportive mentor, that is a friend or family member who will guide you in your early shooting days. Support from your school can be very helpful but remember that many teachers are anti-shooting.
What the law says
In Great Britain people under 14 years of age may not possess a Section 1 firearm or ammunition. However, between the ages of 14 and 17 a young person may possess and use a Section 1 firearm and ammunition provided they hold a valid firearms certificate for that firearm. They must, of course, comply with any condition on the certificate, but if it does not require them to be accompanied while shooting then they may shoot by themselves.
In Northern Ireland it is an offence for a person under 18 to possess a firearm. However, a person aged 16 or over may, for sporting purposes, have a firearm or ammunition in his possession while accompanied by a person of 18 or over who holds a valid certificate for the firearm and ammunition. Furthermore, it is not an offence for any person to possess a firearm, which they are entitled to possess by virtue of a Great Britain firearms certificate.
Q. How much does a shotgun certificate cost and how long does it run for? A. A certificate is valid…
Find out how to apply for a shotgun licence, plus more information on waiting times, fees and the appeals process
One of the commonest questions I get through Sporting Gun is from youngsters wanting to know what the minimum age…
What you’ve learned from reading this article:
- You need to be 14 to get a firearms certificate
- You need to prove to the police that you have good reason for possessing the firearm
- You need to show you have somewhere suitable to use your firearm
- There is no minimum age for a shotgun certificate
- However until you are 15 you need to be supervised by an adult when using a shotgun
- You don’t have to show you have somewhere to use the shotgun or that you are a member of a shotgun club
- It is a very good idea to have a shooting family member or friend who will support you through your early shooting days