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Will I have problems obtaining a firearms certificate?

A reader who has been an expatriate for most of his life is concerned about referees

Firearm Certificate

Q: I am soon to retire and would like to apply for a firearms certificate to take up shooting with a .17 HMR for for targets and vermin. However, having read the gun control regulations, I may have a problem complying. Having spent most of my life working abroad I do not know anyone who can endorse my application.

I am also the sole occupant of a council flat and am not happy with the idea that some unknown person in the council is aware that a firearm is kept here. Can you offer any advice?


A: Every applicant for a firearms certificate is required to nominate two referees (one for a shotgun certificate).

There are no requirements for them to be of any particular status, but they must have known the applicant personally for at least two years, be of good character and resident in Great Britain.
Their function is to provide a reliable assessment of the applicant’s character, rather than guaranteeing any future behaviour.

Referees must provide a reference freely and without any fee. They must not be registered firearms dealers, serving police officers, police employees or members of the applicant’s immediate family. This is not defined but it includes all close relatives other than cousins. It also applies to cohabitees.

GPs may act as referees for your firearms certificate, but they must do this on a personal rather than a professional basis.

A council tenant applying for a firearms certificate should always check the terms of the lease to see if there is any clause prohibiting possession or storage of firearms on the premises.

If there is a requirement to notify the council of firearms this should be done in a discreet manner to a senior person, for example, the director of housing services, and that person should be reminded of his confidentiality under the Data Protection Act.