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What should I do about shotgun storage if I’m away?

What you should do if you're not going to be using your guns for a while

Man with shotgun

Sometimes you have no plans to go out in the field for a while. Maybe you’re taking a break from shooting due to injury, relocation or work and family commitments.

Whilst you don’t want to sell your guns you do need to do the correct thing about longterm gun storage.  You have legal obligations to store your guns correctly and you also need to make sure that when you pick them up again they are in good condition.

We asked Bill Harriman, firearms office at BASC, for his advice. Here’s what he advised:

share a gun gun cabinet

You must store your guns in a police-approved cabinet

Longterm gun storage tips

First off, you need to remember that the standard condition 4 (a) of your shotgun certificate states that you are obliged to store your firearms and ammunition (or shotguns) securely at all times so as to prevent access to the firearms or ammunition by an unauthorised person.

Obviously, this stringent condition is intended to to prevent any unauthorised person, be they your spouse, child or a burglar, getting hold of your shotguns.

A criminal offence

If you fail to comply with this condition you are committing a criminal offence. How you prevent unauthorised access is a matter for you to decide given your personal circumstances.

It is your responsibility to store your guns securely, but the way you do this is not prescribed.

Longterm gun storage

Keeping your guns in a locked security cabinet and hiding the key may be enough but, since you are intending to be away for a long time, such an arrangement might not meet the condition.

Indeed, the extent to which a home is to be unoccupied is one of the recommended factors to be considered in making an assessment of the security risk involved in storing shotguns on the property.

longterm gun storage

It might be better to ask a registered firearms dealer to store your shotguns whilst you are away

Store your guns with a registered firearms dealer

In such circumstances it might, for example, be better to ask a registered firearms dealer to store your shotguns in his armoury.

That arrangement should keep the guns out of the wrong hands and also prevent you from being prosecuted for breach of condition 4(a) and losing your shotgun certificate.

It would also be the action of a responsible, safe shooter.