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Can I do anything to speed up getting my shotgun certificate?

Peter Glenser, our legal expert, offers some advice to a reader who'd like things to be a bit faster

shotgun certificate

Q: In light of the huge delays in processing shotgun certificate renewals in some counties (Lincolnshire for example) what is your advice to help speed up the process of receiving my shotgun certificate? I call and call but just get fobbed off…

A: This is a widespread problem. Whilst some forces are excellent others are woefully inefficient. Lincolnshire in particular has a poor record for firearms licensing. BASC’s firearms team deal with an enormous number of queries about delays in both the grant and renewal of Firearm and Shotgun certificates more than on any other subject. There is little that an applicant can do to speed up the process sadly. The real danger is in fact in the case of renewals where tardy service by the police can lead to certificate holders being in possession of their firearms without a valid certificate being in force. In these circumstances or if this looks likely it is important to contact the firearms licensing manager and request a Section 7 temporary permit. There is no charge for this. If they refuse then make a complaint to the Police and Crime Commissioner and store your guns with an RFD. I would claim any fees and associated expenses from the police.

Bill Harriman, BASC’s director of firearms advises applicants to: “Keep a log of all contact with the licensing authority and to be persistent. If you are a BASC member and having difficulties the contact the BASC firearms team.”

There is however hope for the future. The Policing and Crime Bill which will receive Royal Assent next year is likely to provide for an extension to certificate life where renewal application has been made in good time. It should provide a crumb of comfort for now. If 10-year certificates are introduced this will help greatly.

Peter Glenser is a firearms barrister and BASC council member.