UNITED KINGDOM FIREARMS LEGISLATION
The licensing authority for the majority of firearms in the United Kingdom is the chief officer of police for the area in which a certificate holder, or applicant, resides. This means that there are 53 individual chief officers of police interpreting the law. Those chief officers belong to a national association [ACPO] which seeks uniformity in application.
The Home Secretary retains authority in respect of certain firearms.
Possession of a handgun which has a barrel less than 30 centimetres in length or is less than 60 centimetres in length overall is prohibited.
A person wishing to possess, purchase or acquire any firearm or ammunition except :
(a) an air weapon (not of a type declared by the Secretary of State to be specially dangerous);
(b) a deactivated firearm;
(c) ammunition for air weapons;
(d) cartridges containing five or more shot, none of which exceeds .36 inch in diameter
(e) blank cartridges not more than one inch in diameter;
must hold a valid firearms certificate.
Before issuing or renewing a firearm certificate, the chief officer must satisfy himself that the applicant can be permitted to have the firearm(s)/ammunition in his possession without danger to the public safety or to the peace . The applicants are required to enter the calibre and type of the firearm(s) to be purchased or acquired. A chief officer of police must not grant a certificate to any person whom he has reason to believe to be:
(a) prohibited by the Act from possessing a firearm, or
(b) of intemperate habits or unsound mind; or
(c) to be for 'any reason unfitted to be entrusted with a firearm
If the grant of the certificate is not so precluded , the chief officer of police has to satisfy himself an two points: that the applicant (a) has a good reason for requiring the firearm or ammunition in respect of which the application is made; and (b) can be permitted to have the firearm or ammunition without danger to public safety or to the peace.
Shot guns A shot gun certificate is required for hunting, target shooting, game shooting and/or collecting. The application form does not require an applicant to provide details of the shot guns he intends to purchase or acquire.
No certificate shall be granted or renewed if the chief officer of police:
(a) has reason to believe that the applicant is prohibited by the Act from possessing a shot gun: or
(b) is satisfied that the applicant does not have a good reason for possessing, purchasing or acquiring one.
A certificate is valid for five years.
3. Air weapons
Air guns, air rifles and air pistols are exempt from the certificate requirement if they are not of a type declared specially dangerous by the Firearms (Dangerous Air Weapons) Rules l969 The Rules provide that any air weapon is ''specially dangerous'' which is capable of discharging a missile so that the missile has , on being discharged from the muzzle of the weapon, kinetic energy in excess, in the case of an air pistol, of 6 ft.lbs [8.136 joules] or, in the case of an air weapon other than an air pistol, I2ft lbs [16.271 joules].
All firearms to which a certificate relates must at all times [except in specified circumstances] be stored securely so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, access to the gun by an unauthorised person.
In addition to any firearm/shot gun certificate which might be required, hunters should be in possession of a United Kingdom Game Licence. There are no pre-conditions such as a requirement to undergo training.
E] Visitors to the United Kingdom
1. From the European Union
In addition to any domestic certificate which might be relevant in their own country, visitors from the European Union have to be in possession of a European Firearms Pass and a British Visitors Permit. Applications for the British Visitors Permit have to be made, on behalf of the visitor, by a sponsor in the United Kingdom.
2 From Non EU Countries
As above but without the European Firearms Pass.
Hunters are not required to produce their domestic hunting licence.
A variety of restrictions set minimum ages for the possession, ownership and/or use of either firearms, shot guns or air weapons.
Often possession is allowed under supervision.
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