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Supporting information

Supporting information around firearms and shotguns.

Brexit implications

European Firearms Pass (EFP)

From 1 January 2021, UK residents who want to travel to the EU with their firearms or shotguns can no longer apply for an EFP. Instead, you should check the firearms licensing requirements of the EU country you're travelling to, ahead of travelling. 

Visitor’s permits

You should continue to apply to your local UK police force for a visitor’s permit (opens in a new window) if you’re sponsoring an EU visitor who is bringing a firearm to the UK. Permits issued before the UK leaves the EU will remain valid until they expire.

It will no longer be a legal requirement for EU visitors to GB to produce a valid EFP in support of their application, but it will remain open for them to do so as one form of evidence of their suitability to bring a firearm into GB.

Non-EU visitors should produce either copies of current valid firearms or shotgun licenses, hunting license or membership card, or the equivalent of a local Criminal Records Bureau check, depending on circumstances

Please see the Government website (opens in a new window) for further details.

Lost or destroyed firearms certificate

Firearms certificates that have been lost or destroyed can be replaced. Please email us to arrange a replacement certificate.

Air weapons

Airguns, air rifles and air pistols are not required to be held on a Firearm Certificate unless they are of a type declared especially dangerous by the Firearms (Dangerous Air Weapons) Rules, 1969.

It is possible to measure the velocity of pellet discharges, to a satisfactory degree of accuracy, by use of an electronic chronograph. These measurements allow the calculation of the kinetic energy of the pellet, at the muzzle.

The rules state that any air weapon is especially dangerous, which is capable of discharging a missile with kinetic energy in excess of:

  • 6ft.lbs (air pistol)
  • or 12ft.lbs (an air weapon other than an air pistol)

Air weapons, exceeding these prescribed limits can only be lawfully held on a Firearm Certificate and are subject to all the rules and regulations pertaining to all Section 1 firearms, although the 'ammunition' (pellets) are not.

An air pistol over 6ft.lbs is a Section 5 prohibited weapon and therefore cannot be placed on a firearms certificate.

Conventional air weapons not required to be held on firearms certificate are still subject to other legislation, particularly age restrictions.

Under 14 years of age

It is an offence to give an air weapon, or ammunition for an air weapon, to a person under 14 years of age. It is not an offence for that young person to receive it.

It is an offence for a person under 14 years of age to be in possession of an air weapon, or ammunition for it, except:

  • as a member of an approved shooting club for target shooting
  • whilst at a shooting gallery where only air weapons or miniature rifles not exceeding .23 calibre are used
  • whilst shooting under the supervision of a person aged 21 years or over, on private premises, including land, provided the missile is not fired beyond those premises

This effectively means that a person under 14 years of age must be supervised by someone over the age of 21 years at all times, even within their own home and garden.

Banned firearms and ammunition

Certain firearms are banned in the UK, meaning they cannot be used or owned.

You cannot obtain a licence for them as it is an offence to own, buy or acquire banned firearms without the permission of the Home secretary. If you are unsure if a firearm, shotgun or other weapon is legal or not, please contact us.

Self-contained gas cartridge system

It is an offence to manufacture, sell, buy, transfer or acquire any air weapon using a self-contained gas cartridge system. If caught in possession, you could face up to 10 years imprisonment.

Learning to shoot without a certificate

You may not borrow another person’s gun if they do not own or occupy the land you wish to shoot on. Under certain circumstances you can shoot without holding a firearm or shotgun certificate, which include;

  • at clay shooting or registered firearms dealers, where the shoot or dealer must hold a section 11 exemption notice.
  • at open days held by approved rifle and muzzle-loading clubs as a non-member, using club weapons on a limited number of days per year. Membership is usually required to shoot at clubs any other time.
  • anyone over 17 years of age can shoot a shotgun or rifle when accompanied by a certificate holding landowner or their agent, such as their gamekeeper or stalker. This must take place on the owners land, using their weapons and in accordance with the conditions on their certificate for that weapon.

Discovering firearms when you move house

If you discover firearms, explosives or ammunition in a house you move into do not attempt to handle them, as they may be loaded and dangerous, please call 101.

Importing or exporting firearms

If you wish to import or export firearms, ammunition or related equipment, you should contact us via e-mail with the details so we can properly advise you.

Inheriting firearms

If you find yourself as an unexpected owner or in possession of firearms from inheritance or by discovering them in a house following the death of a friend or relative, we advise you to contact us as soon as possible. We may be able to issue you with a temporary permit to keep the firearms safe whilst arrangements are made to have them disposed of safely.

Firearm and shotgun age restrictions

Firearm and shotgun age restrictions
Firearm activity Aged under 18 Aged under 15 Aged under 14 
To buy a firearm or ammunition No No No
To own a section 1 firearm Yes Yes No (see exemptions 1, 2 and 3)
To receive a section 1 firearm as a gift Yes Yes No
To own a shotgun Yes No (see exemptions 4 and 5) No (see exemptions 4 and 5)
To receive a shotgun as a gift Yes No No
To own an air weapon No (see exemptions 2, 3, 4 and 6) No (see exemptions 2, 3, 4 and 6) No (see exemptions 2, 3 and 4)
To receive an air weapon as a gift No No No
To own or have an air weapon in a public place No (see exemptions 2, 3 and 4) No (see exemptions 2, 3 and 4) No (see exemptions 2, 3 and 4)

Age restriction exemptions

  1. If you’re carrying a firearm or shotgun on behalf of a certificate holder over 18 years of age, for sporting purposes
  2. When you’re part of an approved club or cadet corps
  3. If you’re on a Miniature Rifle Range
  4. If you’re under the supervision of someone over 21 years old
  5. When the firearm is in a secure gun cover
  6. If you’re on private property with the permission of the land owner. It’s an offence for someone under this exemption to fire any missile beyond the boundary of the premises, unless you have permission from the adjacent land owner.

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