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Sporting Answers: Guns as heirlooms

A) Your friend should apply for a certificate as soon as possible, as these are still subject to delay in some forces. The chief officer may refuse only if not satisfied that she has an appropriate reason for wanting to possess shotguns. However, she is not obliged to give her reason and, in any case, the fact that a gun is an heirloom is considered to be a good enough reason.

The next step is to install her father’s cabinet. It must be firmly anchored to a wall and out of sight of casual visitors. A good plan is to lay a cabinet on its back in something like a walk-in wardrobe. This makes it very hard to attack and it can easily be disguised.

Once it is installed, her father should put his guns in the cabinet and retain each set of keys. This means your friend does not have access to the guns and her father continues to satisfy his statutory duty to secure his guns. He is not obliged to have the cabinet in his own home. When the enquiry officer comes to interview her, he can satisfy himself that your friend has a cabinet and that it is properly fixed and sited. Alternatively, your friend’s father could transfer the guns to another certificate holder pending the processing of his daughter’s application.