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Renewing your shotgun certificate – crucial things to know

Is your shotgun certificate close to expiring? Here's what you need to know about renewing it.

Q: I put my shotgun licence in for renewal in 10 weeks before it expired. It still wasn’t renewed after it had expired, and I got the automatic eight-week extension. That has two weeks left but I have not got my licence back. I have asked for a temporary permit, but was told by police that I would be OK to have guns as I had applied to renew. Is this right?

A: It is wholly incorrect. The newly published Statutory Guidance (14/02/2023) makes this plain at 6.10: “Certificate holders must not be asked to rely on an expired certificate or registration. It is unlawful for them to do so.” The new guidance also envisages that your situation is one where a temporary permit could be appropriate; 6.6 states: “Or it could apply where that 8 week extension is about to expire, and the police are still unable to decide the application.” Make a complaint to Professional Standards that you have been given bad advice and continue to be pestered for a temporary permit.

Q: My local force has offered me early renewal of my shotgun certificate. I am told other forces are doing the same. Should I take up the offer?

A: Some forces are doing this to even out the workload between the three normal years and the two slack years of the renewal cycle. Some are offering a discount, which makes it more attractive. On the downside you may have to pay your GP for his medical input. Other forces are being less generous and I suggest you ignore their offer. Renewing your shotgun certificate early is not obligatory if offered.

Man with shotgun

Some police forces now have the facility to apply for a shotgun renewal online

14 other things to know about renewing your shotgun certificate

    1. Get your renewal application in at least 12 weeks before your certificate is due to expire.  Don’t think you should wait for a police reminder letter – in any case, you may not receive one.
    2. Different police forces have different procedures. Find your local police force here. Some now have the facility for renewing shotgun certificates online.
    3. You can download a firearm/shotgun certificate renewal form here.
    4. On the renewal form you must give details of any convictions. This includes motoring offences (including speeding offences), bindovers, formal written cautions and convictions in and outside Great Britain. However parking offences and fixed penalty notices do not need to be declared.
    5. It may speed up your renewal application if you include a photocopy of your existing certificates. You do not need to return the expiring certificates.
    6. If you possess a shotgun or rifle it is advisable to belong to one of the shooting organisations (like BASC).  They offer good specialist advice and can put you in touch with an expert in firearms law should you have any problems renewing your shotgun certificate.
    7. Keep your original certificates with you whilst waiting to receive the renewals. You will need them to buy ammunition and prove lawful possession of your guns. 

    8. Use a digital photograph if you are applying online. Paper applications must be accompanied by one passport quality photograph.
    9. If your certificate expires before you receive a valid replacement, you should ask for a temporary permit, issued under Section 7 of the Firearms Act 1968. It should be granted in the event of an administrative delay.
    10. A shotgun certificate renewal is currently £62
    11. Always post your renewal applications by recorded delivery to prove that you have done so and ensure safe arrival.
    12. You will need to supply the address of your GP practice. (Read more on GPs and shotgun certificate applications.)
    13. It is better to mention an illness than leave it off the form. Those who actively seek help to manage their condition are likely to be looked on more positively. If the doctor’s report shows the applicant is taking the correct medication and that there are no serious issues then a certificate should be granted or renewed.
    14. Ticking the ‘yes’ box WILL lead to a letter being written to your GP seeking more information.


    This article was originally published in 2019 and has been updated.