Is there a limit?

Q: I currently have two 12-bore shotguns on my shotgun certificate. Can you tell me how many shotguns I can legally hold? Is there a gun limit on a shotgun certificate? Also how much smokeless powder can I store?

A: There is no restriction on the number of shotguns that can be held on the authority of a shotgun certificate and you don’t need to get another certificate every time you buy a gun. However every time you acquire or dispose of a gun for a period exceeding 72 hours you must inform the police within seven days. Some forces are now accepting e mail notifications, but generally the notification must be in writing and sent by recorded delivery.

Gun storage

You will of course need to store your shotguns securely, so adequate measures must be put in place.

Some gun-cabinet makers designate their products by how many guns they will hold. For example, a gun safe may be marketed as a five-gun cabinet. This does not mean you cannot store more than five guns in it. It is the actual capacity of the cabinet that counts, usually twice the maker’s designation.

clayshooting ground

Somebody without a shotgun certificate can borrow a shotgun for use at an authorised clayground

More useful shotgun certificate knowledge

  • A certificate is valid for five years, after which it must be renewed  if you wish to continue to possess shotguns. At the time of writing a new certificate costs £79.50 and renewal is £49.
  • You can apply for a shotgun certificate even if you have no intention of shooting but just want to keep a gun with the ultimate intention of passing it to a friend or relative (who will of course need a shotgun certificate when they take ownership of a gun).
  • Somebody without a shotgun certificate can  borrow and use a shotgun for shooting clay targets provided the clay ground is authorised for this purpose by the police.

What about smokeless powder?

As much as 5kg of smokeless powder may be stored. There is no requirement to keep it in a locked box as with black powder, but common sense says it should be stored away from heat sources and made inaccessible to children.