Home > Shooting > Firearms and The Law

Firearms and The Law

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 1 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Firearms And The Law

The Firearms Act defines a firearm as a "lethal barrelled weapon of any description" that is capable of firing shots or bullets. Section 1 shotguns differ from typical shotguns, as they can holding more than cartridges. They are often called "pump action" or "semi-automatic" shotguns, and can only be held on a firearm certificate (rather than a shotgun certificate). A valid firearm certificate is required.

Firearms Used in Shooting Sports

The firearms used in shooting sports generally fall into one of the following categories:
  • Handguns such as pistols and revolvers. Shooting sports in the UK that use handguns include modern pentathlon and action/airgun shooting (an indoor shooting sport that takes place indoors using semi-automatic handguns.
  • Long guns such as shotguns and rifles. Rifle shooting sports in the UK include field target shooting, biathlon and gallery rifle shooting.

Who Can Own a Firearm?

To own and use a firearm, you need to have a valid firearm certificate. These are allocated to all applicants, as long as it is believed that you will not be a danger to other people. Previous criminal offences (especially those related to violence) are taken into consideration when deciding if you can legally own a firearm. Factors such as past drug or alcohol abuse will have an effect on the decision, as they can indicate a potential lapse in judgement or control.

If you are looking to own firearms for reasons other than pest control or use in shooting competitions, you may be refused a firearm certificate.

Buying Firearms

You should not buy firearms or ammunition before you receive your firearms certificate, as this is classed as your green light to obtain the firearms and ammunition that you asked permission to purchase. Legally, you can only buy the firearms that you requested.

When you buy firearms, it should always be in person. The dealer (a Registered Firearms Dealer or other Firearms Certificate holders) must also write the details on the back of your Firearms Certificate - you should not enter them yourself.

After purchasing firearms, you must inform your issuing authority within a week. You need to let them know the details of your purchase (for example, a description of the firearm and an identification number, if applicable), the nature of the transaction, and the name and address of the person who sold you the firearm. Under the terms of the Firearms Amendment Act 1997, this should be sent by recorded delivery or registered post. Your firearms dealer is also obliged to inform his or her issuing authority of the sale.

Selling Firearms

If you pass your firearms onto a new owner, you need to fill in the back of their Firearms certificate, just as your seller did for you. If the new owner is a Registered Firearms Dealer, you do not need to do this (he or she will take care of that for you). In all cases, you need to inform your issuing authority of the fact that you no longer own the firearm(s).

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Colin
    Re: Shooting Seasons
    Are you allowed to shoot pheasant on the 1st of February? Or does it stop at midnight on the 31st?
    29 January 2020
  • Mr. S
    Re: Shooting Rules and Regulations
    I have a neibour who thinks it’s ok to use a shotgun at 9.30 am on a Sunday within 50mts of my house, time the law was changed !
    24 November 2019
  • Nippy
    Re: Shooting Seasons
    Hi i live on a estate in the country side, they have many shoots going on and shot keeps coming down on us while ion the garden ,is there anything…
    13 September 2019
  • prof.LC
    Re: Types of Riding
    There are many styles of riding including english and western however my absolute definite favourite is bearback this is a style where you ride…
    2 June 2019
  • prof.LC
    Re: Types of Riding
    Horse riding is a great sport or/and fun activity for pretty much any age.
    2 June 2019
  • help
    Re: Arguments Against Hunting
    I ran over a fox in my 2002 Nissan on the way to the church so then I picked it up and give it to my cussion robbet he took it back to…
    21 May 2019
  • i am stuck in the ge
    Re: Arguments Against Hunting
    help me to decied what gender I am plz because I don't know if I am male or female
    21 May 2019
  • MrC
    Re: Shooting Rules and Regulations
    It's pretty obvious from these comments and my own experience that the law regarding shooting in the countryside needs updating.…
    7 May 2019
  • mr happy
    Re: Arguments For Hunting
    i will find all you fox hunting stuck up pricks
    29 April 2019
  • Nana
    Re: Shooting Seasons
    Is it illegal to shoot on a Sunday in scotland?
    11 November 2018