Last Updated on April 8, 2014
Editors Note: This article is courtesy of Lee Donoghue from Locksonline and in this article, he discusses the gun laws in the UK. I thought this would be interesting for everyone over here who isn’t aware of the differences in laws and requirements we have.
In this article we are going to discuss UK Shotgun and firearm laws. Our aim is provide as much information on the subject so if you are looking to invest in a firearm for hunting or going to a range then you will have all the information you need to make your application today.
In order to possess a firearm in the UK you must either hold a shotgun certificate (SGC) or a firearm certificate (FAC). Air rifles (Very common in the UK) that provide less than 12 pounds of energy at the muzzle are not required to have certificates but are still required to adhere to strict procedure of storage and use.
A firearm is classed any lethal, barreled weapon that usually fires single projectile but is also not a part of the UKs “Prohibited Weapons” list which includes but is not limited to all the cool stuff like rocket launchers, machine guns and the like (Sigh…) Applications for firearms can be made at any local police station, Applicants much demonstrate that they have a sufficient level of security in place as to secure said firearm. You are required by law to also secure ammunition:
“must be stored securely at all times so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, access to the guns by unauthorized persons”.
Steel Cabinets that are constructed to comply with BS7558, raw bolted to a solid wall are the standard practice over here. An FAC license lasts for 5 years and does not cover you for multiple firearms. Each one must be individually declared and you must provide reasoning for their ownership. In addition to this two supporting references must be supplied with the application and all criminal convictions must be declared, no matter how old or trivial. The rehabilitation of offenders act does not apply with firearm legislation. One important thing to note is that both SGC and FAC are never granted under the reasoning of home or self defense, you will have your license immediately denied in the UK if you present these reasons.
A shotgun is classed as a smooth barreled gun which discharges a number of pellets, rather than a single projectile. If you are applying for this license you must not own a shotgun that is capable of holding more than 3 cartridges at one time. The barrel must, by law, be equal to or exceed 24 inches (Any shotgun exceeding this size needs an FAC). Pump action and semi automatic shotguns must by over 40 inches in size overall. In the same way as a FAC, SGC’s can be applied for at any local police station. You must demonstrate that you are able to safely and security lock your shotgun away and police must also be satisfied that you will not present a danger to the public. Again this is partially achieved with a background check that will go back past even spent convictions. Applicants who are looking to own an SGC need to have a counter-signatory, which helps approve their application and ensure police you are a safe and trustworthy individual. As with the FACs the rehabilitation of offenders act does not apply to the ownership of these licenses. Once granted, the SGC is valid for 5 years and authorises a number of shoguns as well as most types of ammunition. There is no minimum age requirement to apply for an SGC.
When applying for your FAC or SGC you will need to provide an adequate level of security before your application will be processed, in fact if you show that you are slacking in this area in any way it can hinder your application, easily one of the causes for it to be denied in the eyes of the police and for good reason. We would recommend a safe lock that has a high number of levers on the locking mechanism. A minimum of 7 seems to be the industry standard at the moment, 11 levers are available and are extremely secure, providing an excellent level of protection for your gun cabinet. Mauer’s range of gun cabinet locks is an excellent choice, you also have your S&G and G&C locks that all do a great job. Some of these locks are so secure they double up as safe locks and are able to be interchanged in one if you wish in the future. We also recommend any range of gun cabinet lock that has a dial or keypad function. If you misplace or lose gun cabinet keys it can affect your license, especially if they have come into someone else’s hands. You don’t have this problem with keypad version and both mechanical and electrical version are readable available and affordable in this day and age.
Just to let anyone know who has read this article I do enjoy owning and firing my guns but they are only used for hunting purposes. We do not have much gun crime in South Wales, UK (Thankfully) and I am able to hunt at my leisure and to my heart’s content as we did hundreds and thousands of years ago. We have developed a disconnect with our food and how it is brought to our plate over the years after being consistently being force fed processed food through fast food, TV, movies and even schools. Our meats available in supermarkets do not provide us with sufficient vitamins and minerals due to poor diets of the animals and factory farming in general. This is one of the main reasons I began hunting a few years back and I would suggest if you want to live a long and healthy life that you do the same. I hope you have enjoyed this article and also hope that it has been somewhat informative to you if are interested in getting a SGC or FAC. If you have any questions feel free to direct them here or to us over at [email protected]
Locksonline has 15 years experience in providing security solutions around the world and our MD Darrel Walters has 25 years experience as a locksmith.You can find them both online at www.LocksOnline.co.uk