BRITISH FIREARMS LAWS.....

 
If you wish to be in possession of a gun in Britain, you must have the correct permit.

There are essentially four variations:

  • the Firearm Certificate - 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.

  • the Shotgun Certificate - 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.

  • A 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.

  • A 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, contact GunRunner  -  with over 30 years experience in the British gun trade, we know how to help!