Advice on how to apply for a firearm certificate
A firearm certificate and a shotgun certificate both last for five years buts that’s where there similarities end. In this guide, we’re going to discuss how to apply for a firearm certificate. A firearm certificate is required for all firearms other than a shotgun and low powered air weapons.
Despite there being no age restrictions on using a low powered air rifle on private land where you have permission, in the United Kingdom you must be over the age of 18 in order to purchase an air rifle or ammunition. Applying for a firearm certificate in the UK currently costs £50 as do applications for a shotgun certificate.
How to apply for a firearm certificate: Application Form
As part of applying for a firearm certificate, you must complete form 201. Form 201 is the initial form that is complete by applicants for the grant of a firearm certificate. The form requires you to provide personal details, medical details, offences and the type of firearm you are applying for. Unlike applying for a shotgun certificate, you must declare which type of firearm you are requesting to acquire and hold. There is reasoning for this and we will talk about it later.
When applying for a firearm certificate, you must also provide four identical passport style photographs of yourself. Details of two people who have agreed to act as a referee for you are also required. Your referee’s must be British residents and have known you for at least two years and be of a good character. Unfortunately, a family member cannot act as a referee for you when applying for a firearm certificate. It should also be noted that you will be required to give the police the permission to approach your GP. If you are not currently registered with a GP within the United Kingdom, you cannot complete form 201 and therefor you cannot currently apply for a firearm certificate.
How to apply for a firearm certificate: Police Checks
As you can understand, the process of applying for a firearm certificate with the hope of later obtaining one, there are a number of checks the police will carry out. These checks come in the form of background checks including a criminal record check, interviews, visits to your property and references from friends.
In order for a firearm certificate to be granted, the police need to be satisfied with the following:
- You are able to possess the requested firearm or ammunition without being a danger to public safety or peace
- You are fit to be entrusted with a firearm and aren’t prohibited from possessing one
- You have good reason for possessing or purchasing a firearm
How to apply for a firearm certificate: Good Reason
As you will already know from reading this guide, you are required to demonstrate to the police ‘good reason’ when applying for a firearm. The police need to be satisfied that you require the firearm for the purposes of either work, sport or leisure. The chief of police can however exercise his or her right over what ‘good reason’ actually constitutes as. For the purpose of target shooting for example, ‘good reason’ can only be demonstrated if you are a member of a Home Office approved target shooting club. A probationary membership is not acceptable for the purpose of demonstrating ‘good reason’ when applying for a firearm certificate.
Applying for a firearm certificate variation
Unlike a shotgun certificate where you can freely change between different gauges and types as you please, the freedom is much more restricted in the case of firearms. A variation is required when you want to change details of the firearm(s) on your certificate. This therefore means more paperwork and in particular, form 202.
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