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Worried about my shotgun certificate renewal

A reader is concerned he won't get his new licence through

shotgun certificate applications

I am applying for a new shotgun licence and when the policeman came to visit he did not even bother to look at my gun safe. Before he left, he said he had to take my old licence with him. When I said I needed it, he said he would recommend that I did not get a certificate renewal as I was not co-operative. I am worried now.

Bill Harriman advises

There are two strands to this. Firstly, the police themselves acknowledge that they only have a problem with 2% of certificate holders on renewal The home visit is the most expensive component in the process and in my estimation it is generally needless. Sensible forces that recognise economic reality often renew certificates over the phone. The certificate holder is asked whether anything has changed. If the conversation is recorded on a chip, this declaration acts as a safeguard in the event that any incorrect information is supplied by the certificate holder. All too often, I hear stores of firearms enquiry officers (FEO) spinning out visits over tea and cake.

Secondly, there is no requirement to return the expiring certificate on renewal. The law uses the phrase” if it is available” which clearly shows that this is not mandatory. In order to assist the police in reconciling guns to certificate, send a photocopy. You will need the old one to prove lawful possession of shotguns if challenged. Equally, you need to show the certificate when buying cartridges. If you get any grief from the FEO, complain to the licensing manager.