Firearms Licensing FAQ's
How do I contact you?
Our contact details are
Postal Address: Firearms Licensing Unit, Police Headquarters, Wootton Hall, Northampton, NN4 0JQ
Office Address: 27-29 Salthouse Road, Brackmills Industrial Estate, Northampton NN4 7EX
Tel: 101 (or 03000 111 222 if out of county) ext. 341035
How do I transfer a gun?
Before you transfer any gun you must ensure that the person you wish to transfer the gun to has a valid certificate authorising them to acquire that particular type of gun. Only original certificates should be accepted not photocopies. In the case of a Section 1 firearm the person must be authorised to acquire that particular calibre of gun. A sound moderator is classed as a firearm and requires authority on your certificate before it can be acquired. You must then complete the rear of that person’s certificate in the boxes provided giving details of the transfer and then notify the Firearms Licensing Unit who issued your certificate, in writing, that you have disposed of the gun. The notification should be sent to the Firearms Licensing Unit within seven days. There is no need to send in your certificate.
How do I dispose of an unwanted gun?
If you wish to dispose of a gun you can take it to your local Police Station during office hours where the gun can be surrendered for destruction. No fee is charged for this service. Firearms which are held on certificates should not be disposed of by the certificate holder without informing the Firearms Licensing Unit who issued the certificate.
How long will it take to process my application?
All Grant applications are processed as quickly as possible but there are a number of factors, which can affect the time it takes to process applications and no definitive time scale can be given. It is therefore imperative that you read and understand the guidelines before completing your application as this will help ensure that your application is completed correctly and will not have to be returned for you to amend. It is advisable that your application reaches the Firearms Licensing Unit at least 16 weeks before it is required.
The routine certificate renewals are processed 2 weeks before the expiry of the certificate to enable holders to be in receipt of their new certificate prior to the expiry date. Where further assessments of renewals are required this may delay the renewal process but Firearms Licensing Unit will ensure that firearms are held on current certificates or permits during this period.
It is advisable that your application reaches the Firearms Licensing Unit at least 10 weeks before it is required.
How do I apply for an additional firearm?
This is called a variation. You will need to fill in an application form (form 201V-2017-1) giving ‘Good Reason’ for your requirement for the additional firearm. The application and your Firearms Certificate should be forwarded to the Firearms Licensing Unit together with the current variation fee.
What is the difference between a Shotgun and a Firearm?
The basic difference is that a Shotgun is smooth bore and fires cartridges containing lead shot and a Firearm has a rifled barrel and fires a single bullet usually consisting of a single piece of lead. There are exemptions to this for instance if a Shotgun can hold more than three cartridges or has a detachable magazine or the barrel length is less than 24 inches then it is classed as a firearm. For the definitions of both a Firearm and a Shotgun see the guidance notes for applications.
If you are still in any doubt contact the Firearms Licensing Unit.
What happens to my application?
Applications are received by the Licensing Unit and are checked to make sure that they have been completed correctly and the appropriate fee paid. The form 201 used, is a national form, which ensure continuity of applications throughout the Country. Background checks are then made to confirm that you are not prohibited or have criminal convictions, which would question your suitability to possess a firearm. Applications are then forwarded to the Enquiry Officer for your area and a home visit will be arranged. The Enquiry Officer will visit all applicants for the grant, renewal of firearm, shotgun and explosives certificates and certain firearms variation applications, to assess their suitability and security arrangements for the storage of the weapons, ammunition and in the case of applications for Section 1 firearms, your ‘Good Reason’ for requiring it. The completed enquiries are returned to the Firearms Licensing Unit where, if the application is successful, a certificate is issued. The certificate will either be posted directly to you or sent back to the Enquiry Officer for personal service where a gun cabinet has to be installed.
What do I do when I receive my Certificate?
You must sign your certificate in ink in the box provided. When you purchase a gun, whether from a shop or a private individual, they are required to complete the reverse of your certificate with the details of the gun you have purchased. You do not have to send in your certificate but are required to notify the Firearms Licensing Unit in writing within seven days that you have obtained the gun.
What should I do if I unexpectedly come into possession of Firearms or Shotguns?
It could be that your partner, who held a certificate for the gun, has died suddenly or a member of your family who held a certificate has died. Do not panic, contact the Firearms Licensing Unit as soon as possible and they will arrange for a Temporary Permit to be issued to enable you to legally dispose of the gun(s) or to place them in storage, either with a gun shop or with someone who has a certificate, pending your application for a certificate If you have moved house and found un-licensed guns at your new address. Do not handle them, as they may still be loaded. Contact your nearest Police Station and arrange for an officer to visit and make them safe. If the guns are left to you in a will. The executor of the estate should obtain the necessary authority (temporary permit) for the guns to be taken to a Registered Firearms Dealer for storage pending your application for the required certificate to possess that type of weapon.
Can I Import / Export a Firearm or Shotgun?
It is possible to either import a gun into this Country or to export one to another Country but you will have to contact the Department of Trade and Industry in order to obtain the required authorities.
Import Licensing Branch Queensway House Billingham TS23 2NF Tel. 01642 364351 Fax. 01642 364269 Export Licensing Unit 4 Abbey Orchard Street London SW1P 2HT Tel. 020 7215 8070 Fax. 020 7215 0558 Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 Ban on Air Weapons Using self-contained gas cartridge systems. From 20 January 2004 the above Act made it an offence to manufacture, sell, purchase, transfer or acquire any air weapon, which is designed or adapted to use a self-contained gas cartridge system.A self-contained gas cartridge system is a cartridge that contains both a charge of compressed air or other gas as well as the pellet. The ban does not apply to air weapons that use CO-2 bulb systems as they do not contain a projectile and therefore are not self-contained.The ban does not just apply to hand guns, it also includes ANY firearm that has been manufactured or adapted to fire this type of cartridge.
If you have any queries regarding whether the ban affects your particular air weapon please contact the Firearms Licensing Unit on 101 ext. 341035 during normal office hours.