It's a criminal offence
Q: I recently bought a new gun and forgot to inform the police within the required seven-day gun notification period to add it to my licence. I have now sent the police the required paperwork but it is six weeks since I bought the gun. Should I call the police to notify them of this or is a letter ok?
Certificate in jeopardy
Bill Harriman advises: It is a criminal offence to fail to notify the acquisition or disposal of a shotgun.
However, though you have made this notification out of time, you have eventually completed the audit trail and the police may take the view that it is not worth prosecuting you. They may decide to dispose of the matter by means of a warning letter or verbal advice. If the latter, be contrite when it is delivered and say this was an oversight on your part.
Whatever happens, you must get a grip and learn from this experience. Do not let it happen again, otherwise the police will allege that this indicates the start of a pattern of slackness and law-breaking; your certificate will be in jeopardy as a result.
You can notify acquisitions by email (this is called “permitted electronic means”). The address to which such notices must be sent will appear on the police website under the firearms licensing section. Ask for a read receipt.
Lewis Potter looks at the variables to consider if it's better to buy a secondhand gun or a new one
Shotgun licence: If I apply for a shotgun licence do the guns have to be kept at my home address?
If you prefer to make the notice by letter always keep a copy. You must also use a tracked service requiring a signature on delivery. Police forces are large organisations and post gets lost sometimes. That is the police’s problem; armed with the tracking receipt you are bombproof.
In your circumstances, I would send an email follow-up with your sincere apologies for the lateness and hopefully that will be an end to the matter.