How to Apply for a Firearm Certificate in the UK
Firearms Licensing - We explain how to make an application for a firearms Certificate.
If you need advice how to get a Firearm Licence in the UK, then the following is designed as a guide to making a Firearms application for the purpose of hunting and stalking deer.
For those new to shooting, or for those only familiar with Shotgun Certificates, the process of obtaining a Firearm Certificate can at first appear confusing.
The fundamental thing to understand when applying for a firearm Licence is that the Police are not obliged to issue you with a certificate, and will not do so, unless you are of good character, have no mental health issues and have provided them with sufficient evidence and good reason to possess one. Even upon having been issued with a certificate, unlike a shotgun certificate, the police may still seek to apply conditions on the holder of the licence restricting the manner in which a firearm may be used.
Unlike Firearms, holders of Shotgun certificates, are entitled - subject to using the gun safely and in line with UK legislation, to purchase a number of shotguns. They are also entitled to use the shotgun safely on any land on which they have permission to shoot. Firearm Certificates are often quite different and the legislation restricting the use of a firearm is considerably more complex. Just because an individual has been granted an FAC does not mean that they can obtain any number of rifles, neither does it necessarily mean that they can use the rifle on their desired area of land, or indeed for their desired quarry, the individual can only do so provided the certificate specifically entitles them to do so under the ‘conditions’ of use.
The ‘Conditions’ section of a Firearm Certificate specifies exactly what the holder of the certificate can and cannot do. The certificate also specify’s clearly what calibre of weapon the holder of the certificate can purchase. It is important therefore to get it right from the start, so that your FAC is fit for the purpose you require it for. More on that in a bit.
An FAC costs £88-00 and once granted by an issuing Police Force lasts for five years after which an application may be made for a renewal. During the duration of the certificate you may seek variations to the conditions and/or to purchase further weapons, none the less it is best to get it right from the outset.
The following is designed as a guide to obtaining a Firearm Certificate in the UK for the purpose of hunting and stalking deer.
- Next, get some experience, go out with an experienced professional stalker and get a few deer under your belt, there is no substitute for time spent in the field, what’s more you can ask your guide for a reference, which is another crucial piece of information to provide to your local constabulary to show them that you know what you are doing. At County Deer Stalking we are also able to assist with deer stalking outings over thousands of acres of land in the south east of England. All outings are carried out by highly professional experienced guides who are able to get you in to good habits.
- The Police in the UK are issued by the Home Office with guidelines for the issuing of Firearm Certificates, one of the fundamental requirements of the guidelines are that the Police must be assured that you need the weapon and have somewhere to use it. This is often referred to as having ‘Land Approval’. For this you will need a nominated area of land on which you have written permission to shoot, the land must also be frequented by deer and be suitable for your chosen calibre. For many, this is somewhat of a ‘Catch 22’. You are unlikely to get permission from a farmer or land-owner to shoot deer unless you have a rifle to do it with, and you cant get the rifle until you have the permission! A good means of solving this is to join a deer stalking syndicate or deer stalking club. Club’s like the ‘Capreolus Club’ are perfect at solving this obstacle and also provide a safe, suitable and fun environment in which you can progress in the exciting world of deer stalking. For information about the Capreolus Club please follow this link: capreolusclub
- Once you have done your course, got some experience and joined a club/or obtained land permission, it’s time to put in your application and get an approved Gun Cabinet. Cabinets should be fitted securely at your home address to a load bearing wall and be out of sight. Unlike shotguns, rifles and ammunition must be stored separately in different lockable compartments or in a separate approved cabinet.
- Depending on where you live and your issuing Police Force, Firearm Applications can take either a few weeks or a few months. Either way, when you put in your application, make sure that you have dotted the ‘i’s’ and crossed the ‘t’s’. Nothing slows up the issuing of an FAC more than a poor, incorrect or incomplete application.
- You will need four passport size photos’ of yourself, provide the details of two people who have known you for at least 2 years and are prepared to act for you as a referee, and will also need to give the police permission to approach your GP.
- Finally, you will need to specify what calibre you require. For more information on calibres for deer stalking, heaps of information may be found here on our Rifle Calibres page, which is devoted to choosing the right calibre: rifle-calibres