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Storing guns in the attic: is it legal?

Is a gun cabinet in the attic legal?

attic space

I’ve recently got into shooting and have applied for my shotgun certificate. I know that I need a gun cabinet and I’m thinking of storing guns in the attic in it. Is this a good location – after all it’s discreet and out of the way. Will the guns be okay there?

A: I have to say that storing guns in the attic wouldn’t be my first recommendation and this is why. (For advice on where to site a gun cabinet read here. )

While an attic may appear to be an ideal location in which to install a gun cabinet, there are several factors that need to be taken into consideration.

A gun cabinet, while out of sight of visitors, should also be readily accessible so that a gun can be quickly put away after use and cleaning, yet be in a warm part of the house to avoid condensation. Gun cabinet keys must be kept, ideally, in a small safe and their presence concealed and not disclosed to other members of the household.

An attic is usually subject to variations in temperature and humidity, even though it may be well insulated, and there is always the danger of firearms being adversely affected.

Remember too that cabinets must conform to BS 7558 if they have been made after 1992 and there are a number of essential requirements relating to locks, thickness of steel, hinges and seams if made before that date.

Also remember that a gun 
cabinet must be securely clamped 
at four points to a wall. I would weigh up all these considerations before choosing to put your cabinet in 
the attic.

A Perazzi 20-bore side by side

Longterm shotgun storage

Q: What steps should I take for longterm shotgun storage? I am about to do a tour of Afghanistan and wondered if there are any steps I should take to store my two shotguns – an O/U and a semi-auto – while I’m away?

A: It depends on whether there is going to be anyone in your house while you are away.

If your house is going to be empty, then for security reasons I would leave the guns in the hands of a reliable registered firearms dealer, but you must expect to be asked to pay a shotgun storage fee. (You can read police advice on shotgun storage here.)

Another way would be to leave your guns in the hands of a trusted shooting friend, but for this to be legal they would have to be entered on his certificate.

If you are leaving your guns in your house, I would suggest thinking about your gun maintenance, giving your guns a thorough clean, rub the metal parts with an oily cloth, and put something to combat rust and damp in your gun cabinet. Napier VP90 is one such product.

This article was originally published in 2014 and has been updated.