Gun regulations you must know before purchase

Gun regulations you must know before purchase

The laws and regulations surrounding gun ownership in the UK are, quite rightly, rigorous and thorough.

They are in place to promote responsible ownership and security and to prevent the guns falling into hands which could use them to harm others.

A basic starting point is the fact that certificates allowing the ownership of shotguns and firearms must be issued in the first instance and then renewed every five years.

Basic things to remember

  • The UK banned handguns in 1997 after the 1996 massacre of 16 children and their teacher at a primary school in Dunblane, Scotland.
  • People are still allowed to own and shoot shotguns and rifles provided they are licensed.
  • For firearms other than a shotgun, applicants must give police good reason for wanting to own one, such as being a member of shooting club. Self-defence is not considered a good reason.
  • Guns must also be stored securely to prevent, as far as possible, them falling into the wrong hands. This could mean locking them in a cabinet or clamping them. This will be dependent on your local firearms officer.

A more details look at firearms security is here.

Getting a certificate

If you own a shotgun or are planning to buy one the police need to issue you with a certificate and you will also need one to buy ammunition. You can get an application form from your local police or apply here.

Here are a few things to know when eating a certificate: 

  • A first certificate costs £79.50 and a renewal is £49 for shotguns and £88 for a first firearms certificate and £62 for a renewal.
  • A gun licence is valid for five years and renewal should be applied for at least 12 weeks before the expiry date of your current certificate.
  • You will need two referees for a firearms certificate and one referee for a shotgun certificate.


MF Sporting is very happy to assist in any advice or procedure when it comes to firearms. Please contact us or call our Beccles store on 01502 719727.

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