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Firearms criteria

It’s an offence to own a banned weapon or possess a firearm, shotgun or other dangerous weapons, as well as certain ammunition, without a certificate or licence.

Licensing information

A firearms licence or shotgun certificate doesn’t give you the right to own any of the following, unless the certificate includes a condition authorising you to do so in specific circumstances;

  • firearms disguised as other objects
  • combustible ammunition for military use
  • armour piercing ammunition for military use
  • expanding ammunition.

Firearms ownership criteria

Section 21 of the Firearms Act 1968 states that anyone with the following background may be prohibited from being granted a firearms related certificate if they;

  • have been given a custodial sentence from being convicted of a criminal offence or have received a suspended sentence
  • have received a custodial sentence of between 3 months and 3 years, they are banned from legally possessing a firearm for 5 years from the date they are released
  • have received a custodial sentence of more than 3 years, they are banned from possessing firearms for life
  • have been sentenced to 3 or more months imprisonment and the sentence is suspended, they are banned from legally possessing a firearm for 5 years, starting two days after the date of their sentence.

Restrictions can be lifted by applying to the Crown Court. To do this, we advise you to consult a solicitor. 

If you have any queries about your eligibility to own or use a firearm, please contact us.

Declaring convictions

If you have any conviction, you should declare them all within your application. This should include any traffic convictions, offences committed outside the UK and any cautions or reprimands.

Our licensing department

Our Firearms and Explosives Licensing Department aims to;

  • ensure relevant certificates are only given to people who meet statutory criteria 
  • carry out enquiries of certificate holders and registered firearms dealers if and when they come into contact with us
  • take appropriate action against certificate holders who may present danger to the public.

Contact Firearms Licensing

To receive more advice about exemptions and what a firearms licence includes, please contact our Firearms and Explosives Licensing Department;

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