If you wish to be in
possession of a gun in Britain, you must have the correct permit.
essentially four variations:
- this is issued to U.K. residents, covering rifles, shotguns with a
magazine capacity greater than two, and airguns with a muzzle energy
greater than 12 ft-lbs. This certificate will list the firearm(s)
possessed, and those allowed to be purchased or acquired, together with
the quantity of ammunition that may be held, purchased or acquired.
There may also be strict limitations on exactly where the firearm(s) may
be used. This certificate will not entitle the holder to purchase
automatic, semi-automatic (other than .22 rimfire), or pump-action
(other than .22 rimfire) rifles. Any air rifle with a muzzle energy
greater than 12 ft/lbs, or air pistol greater than 6 ft/lbs, may not be
purchased unless you possess a Firearms Certificate authorising you to
do so. Handguns are now effectively banned.
- will show the names and serial numbers of any shotguns possessed.
There are currently no restrictions on the acquisition of shotguns,
providing the details of any transaction are noted on the certificate,
and the issuing police authority informed. It is necessary to produce
your certificate when purchasing cartridges. For the purposes of the
certificate, a shotgun is defined as a smoothbore gun, with barrel(s) at
least 24" (610mm) long. Semi-automatics and pump-actions must have a
magazine capacity of no more than two shots: this has be a permanent
restriction, verified by either the London or Birmingham Proof Houses.
Should you be
visiting Great Britain, either for a short shooting holiday, or for longer
term and anticipating shooting on a regular basis, you may consider
bringing one or more of your own guns with you. In order to legally hold
guns whilst in the UK, you must be in possession of the correct permit.
Should you be a shotgun shooter, you
will require a Visitors Shotgun Permit. For a rifle hunter or
target shooter, you will need a Visitors Firearms Permit.
Visitors Firearms Permit
will show the make and serial number of any firearm that a visitor to
Britain is permitted to bring in to the country with them, or borrow
whilst here. It is not possible to purchase a firearm with a Visitors
Firearms Permit, but ammunition may be acquired if such authorisation is
shown. Limitations on the type of firearm that you import are the same as
for U.K. residents; and restrictions will apply as to where the firearm
may be used. No semi-automatic or pump-action rifles are permitted, other
than in .22 Rimfire calibres. Handguns are effectively banned.
Semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns, capable of taking more than two
cartridges in their magazines, fall within the Firearms Permit category,
as do air rifles with muzzle energy greater than 12 ft-lbs, or 6 ft-lbs
for air pistols.
Visitors Shotgun Permit
will allow you to bring one or more
of your own shotguns into the UK. You may, in addition, ask for
permission to purchase or acquire one or more shotguns whilst you are
visiting the UK. For the purposes of the certificate, a shotgun is
defined as a smoothbore gun, with barrel(s) at least 24" (610mm) long.
Semi-automatics and pump-actions must have a magazine capacity of no
more than two shots: this must be a permanent, irreversible
restriction, verified by either the London or Birmingham Proof Houses -
therefore it is extremely unlikely that any semi-automatic or
pump-action will qualify, unless it has already been to Britain, and
been approved by the Proof House.
To obtain a Visitors
Permit, a UK resident will have to 'sponsor' your application. Aside from
providing details of make, serial number, calibre and type of each gun,
you will also have to satisfy the police authority issuing your permit of
arrangements for the secure storage of the gun(s) when not in use. In the
case of a Visitors Firearms Permit, it is standard practice that you - or
your sponsor - will be asked to provide details of where you intend to use
the gun(s). Suitability of the land may then have to be checked by police.
It is likely that you will also have to supply proof of your home
country's permission for you to own the gun(s). This may take the form of
a permit to own guns; but as this is not required in some countries, gun
club memberships and hunting permits will usually suffice.
If you would like advice on
applying for a resident's Firearm or Shotgun Certificate, or require
assistance in obtaining a Visitors Firearm or Shotgun Permit,
GunRunner - with over 30 years experience in the British gun
trade, we know how to help!