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8 key things you need to know before you take a gun abroad

Q: I am off shooting partridge in Spain in February and want to take a gun abroad. What do I need to do to make this happen?

Vintage luggage

A: Firstly congratulations. It’s on my bucket list. I very much like the idea of enjoying a little early sunshine, shooting and eating a little jamon Ibérico washed down with some manzanilla. Let us know how you get on.

  1. If you are going with a sporting agent they will normally make all the necessary arrangements to take a gun abroad, so it’s best to speak to them first. They will usually be able to sort out the formalities more easily than you.
  2. You will in any case need a European Firearms Pass (EFP) from your local police. There is no charge and no application form. But you should apply in good time. The Met Police recommend at least 14 days, but with some forces you may need rather longer than that.
  3. You need to inform the ferry operator or airline – beware some airlines won’t take firearms – but most charge a fee. They will also ask you to get to the airport a little earlier to process things.
  4. You will need to have a secure case for your firearms and a separate secure case for any ammunition.
  5. It might be wise to source ammunition locally at your destination.
  6. It is also worth checking with the Spanish Embassy before you leave to make sure you don’t make any mistakes.
  7. On arrival in Spain your EFP must be authorised by the Firearms and Explosives Control of the Guardia Civil at your point of entry (port or airport), or by the Firearms and Explosives Control where you are going to hunt.
  8. Also, depending on the firearm, other permits may be required that must be obtained both here and in Spain (and may be granted for one or more trips for a maximum period of one year, renewable), or an invitation or other proof of recreational hunting or shooting in Spain.

Of course all of this may change post-Brexit. Have a fantastic trip!

Peter Glenser, firearms barrister and BASC chairman