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Everything you need to know about firearms licensing

What do I do if my details change?

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Please immediately notify the Firearms Licensing department of any ongoing changes in contact details. We need to be able to contact all of our customers at short notice.

If you make yourself unavailable to us through changing your circumstances, this could affect your suitability to firearms.

Will you visit my home?

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Please be prepared to make yourself available for a home security visit, as part of the Firearms Licensing process.

Flexibility on your part is essential. Our Firearms Licensing department works Monday to Friday and alternative arrangements cannot always be accommodated.

A ‘suitability questionnaire’ will be completed during the visit. You are expected to answer the questions honestly and you will be asked to sign it to verify the authenticity of those replies.

Can I apply for a firearms license if I have a medical condition?

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Medical conditions or treatment for depression for example do not automatically preclude you from weapon certification.

However, relevant enquiries will be made by the department and this may include contacting your GP directly for factual information.

Please note that we are permitted to make these enquiries throughout the duration of the life of the certificate.

Our regular attendance (if necessary) and cooperation with medical experts is very important. Costs arising from our enquiries into medical matters will normally be met by the certificate holder.

How much will my certificate cost?

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Charges for firearms licenses changed on Monday 6 April 2015, with the new list of charges available below:

  • Grant of firearm: £88
  • Renewal of firearm: £62
  • Grant of shotgun: £79.50
  • Renewal of shotgun: £49
  • Grant of firearm & shotgun together: £90
  • Grant of firearm/renewal of shotgun together: £90
  • Renewal of firearm/grant of shotgun together: £90
  • Renewal of firearm & shotgun together: £65
  • Registered Firearms Dealer grant/renewal: £200
  • Visitors permit (individual): £20
  • Visitors’ permit (group of six or more permits): £100
  • Games Fairs: £13
  • Replacement certificate: £4
  • Firearms variation (not like-for-like): £20

Can I take my firearm or shot gun abroad?

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You will need a European Firearms Pass, which can be obtained by sending an email or letter to our Firearms Licensing Team listing all the weapons you wish to take abroad with you.

How long does the process take once you have received my application?

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Every effort will be made to ensure each application is processed efficiently.

We aim to complete the application process within 12 weeks from the date that we receive the completed application form.

Can I shoot without a certificate?

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Yes, under certain circumstances – many shotgun clubs and shooting grounds hold ‘special shooting days’ where non-certificate holders can fire club shotguns to test their interest in the sport. 

You can also shoot shotguns and rifles without a certificate if you are accompanied by the landowner or his agent, (eg. game warden), shooting on his land, using his weapons within the limitations of the authorities on the certificate. 

However, as a non-certificate holder, you can't borrow another person's gun, if he or she is not the occupier of the land you intend to shoot on.

How long does my certificate last?

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Firearm - five years

Shotgun - five years

Explosives Acquire - five years

Explosives Acquire and keep - five years

I have come into possession of a firearm unexpectedly – what do I do?

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You should contact us immediately. 

Avoid placing yourself in danger or in jeopardy. 

If you find unlicensed weapons, for instance, discovering them in your loft having just moved into a new address, don't handle them - they could be loaded and in a dangerous condition.

Immediately call us and we will remove them safely and dispose of them for you. If you are left with firearms that you know had been legally held (this could be due to the death of a certificate holder who was a close relative) you can apply for a temporary permit in order to give you time to decide the best means of disposal.

You can arrange for them to be placed with a Registered Firearms Dealer for storage and/or sale. Alternatively you may know of other certificate holders who they can be transferred to (this would depend on them having enough storage and, in the case of guns that had been held on a Firearms Certificate, the authority to acquire that particular type of weapon).

Another alternative is to have the weapons ‘deactivated’, which would render them safe and remove them from all legislation relating to firearms. They would still retain the original appearance but the weapon would be incapable of discharging a missile.

What else will I need with my application?

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You must submit four identical passport type photographs of yourself - full face without a hat. You should sign one photograph with your usual signature.

Two referees are needed for application/renewal of a firearm certificate and one referee is needed for the application/renewal of a shotgun certificate.

Can another person transport my firearm or shotgun for me?

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Any shotgun certificate holder may transport your shotgun without entering it onto their certificate, providing they are in possession of the gun for less than 72 hours. 

If they will be holding it for longer than 72 hours the gun must be entered onto their certificate. 

A firearm may not be transported by another person unless they hold a firearms certificate specifically authorising them to possess that gun. 

Only registered firearms dealers may transport your guns in the course of their business.

How do I know if I'm a prohibited person?

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A person who has been sentenced to imprisonment, detention or corrective training for a period of three years or more, is permanently prohibited from having any firearms or ammunition in their possession. This means for life and includes all firearms, even air weapons. 

A person sentenced to imprisonment, detention or corrective training for a period of over three months but less than three years is prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition for five years from the date of their release. 

It is an offence to sell or transfer firearms and ammunition to a person you have grounds to believe may be prohibited.

What is the process for destroying or disposing of a firearm?

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If you own a firearm or shotgun that you wish to destroy rather than sell on, you can surrender it either to a gunsmith (registered firearms dealer) or to a police station.

You will need to take your certificate as proof of ownership and sign a disclaimer to the property.

Can I use my certificate as a form of identification?

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A number of organisations, notably banks/building societies and phone companies, include firearm and shotgun certificates as an acceptable identification. 

However, this has obvious security implications and certificate holders are advised against using their certificates for anything other than their intended purpose.

Where do I need to keep firearms, shotguns and ammunition?

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All firearms and ammunition held under the authority of a firearm certificate must, when not in use, be kept in a secure place with a view to preventing access to them by other people.

You will be visited by a member of the Firearms Licensing team to verify the information given and weapons requested, also to inspect your intended security arrangements, before your certificate is issued.

Where you intend to take part in target shooting at a club where storage facilities exist, you may consider using those facilities rather than keeping your weapons at home.

Where you wish to keep your weapons at home, the level of security required will vary according to certain factors, such as the type and quantity of firearms and ammunition involved, the overall security of the premises in which they will be stored and the local crime risk. Storage should be in a locked gun cabinet or other similarly secure container.

Gun cabinets or gun clamps are available from most registered firearms dealers. They are constructed of heavy gauge sheet metal and fitted with substantial locks and concealed hinges. The cabinet/clamp should be located in a protected part of the premises (not in a garage or outhouse) out of the sight of casual visitors and securely fixed to the building.

In certain circumstances, it may be necessary for the premises to be fitted with an intruder alarm system conforming to British Standard. Ammunition, rifle bolts and magazines should be stored separately in a steel box of similar design to the gun cabinet and secured in a similar way.

You are responsible for the secure storage of ammunition. The following forms of security will NOT normally be considered adequate by themselves; display cabinets, locked wardrobes, wooden cabinets. If you can't comply with the requirement, your application may be delayed until you have provided adequate storage facilities for the firearms you want to own.

In what circumstances could my application be refused or revoked?

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A firearm certificate may be refused or revoked if the owner is:

  • a danger to public safety
  • of intemperate habits
  • of unsound mind
  • unfit to be entrusted with such a firearm
  • no longer has ‘good reason’ for possession.

These decisions may be appealed at court.

Will I be asked why I want to acquire a firearm?

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Yes. Under section 27(1) of the Firearms Act 1968, you are required to show a good reason for acquiring or retaining the firearm(s) and ammunition included on your application form.

If you own or propose to acquire any firearm please make sure your reasons for requiring each are clearly stated eg. 44 muzzle loading revolver - target practice, 243 rifle - deer stalking and target practice, 22 rifle - destruction of vermin.

If you need weapons for target shooting you will be expected to have gained full and active membership of an approved shooting club, details of which must be included on your application. Your membership card or a photocopy should be forwarded with your application.

If you need weapons for use over land, whether for destruction of vermin or deer stalking, your application must include details of the land in question ie. full address of the land, the name, full address and telephone number of the owner and type(s) of weapon to be used.

You should include written authority from the landowner wherever possible. Your application may be delayed without this information.

You should provide as much detail as possible about where you'll normally pursue your shooting activities, giving details of at least one venue, or type of sporting facility, for each weapon and purpose eg. 44 muzzle loading revolver - Newtown Shooting Club and other approved ranges 243 rifle - Highland Estate deer stalking and M.O.D. ranges, 22 rifle - High Top Farm, New Lane, Anytown.

What do I do if I lose my certificate?

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Report it immediately to our Firearms Licensing Team. 

They will arrange for a replacement and may charge for this service. 

Due to the nature of the certificate, it's important you keep it in a safe place.

I have previous convictions. Will I have to declare them?

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Yes. All convictions must be declared, including all motoring offences and conditional discharges.

Previous convictions do not automatically preclude you from weapon certification. However, relevant enquiries will be made by the department.

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 does not apply to Firearm Legislation.

Do I need to tell you if I move house?

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Tell our Firearms Licensing Team by email or letter giving your old address, new address and confirming where your firearms will be stored. 

We will need your old certificate before an updated one can be printed and a security check may be carried out. 

If you move out of Nottinghamshire, your file will be transferred to the relevant licensing office.

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