Below is a short guide on how to apply for and receive the grant of a Firearms Certificate.
The laws around Firearms are stricter when compared with a Shotgun certificate. Unlike shotguns where you do not need good reason for a certificate and you can essentially purchase as many shotguns and cartridges as you can safely store, Every firearm you may wish to obtain is subject to providing good reason and there are limits to the amount of ammunition you can purchase and it must be stored securely.
The two most common pathways to becoming a FAC holder is gun club membership or for hunting/pest control.
1, use our handy web directory to find your nearest club (failing that try a google search)
2, contact the club, many clubs have embraced the 21st century and have thriving websites, Facebook pages etc who can be contacted via email. Some clubs, however, are more traditional and may be easier contacted by telephone. Some, however, choose to remain more anonymous and can be difficult to contact and may require you knowing someone who can connect you with a club member.
3, You should be invited to a club guest night where you will be introduced to the basic rules of the club, their expectations (if any) and hopefully be introduced to some shooting. Each club experience can vary, some are very helpful, encouraging and progressive, others can be a little wary of newcomers and change. Find a club that is right for you
4, After 6 months as a probationary member and with no safety issues or concerns you will be offered full club membership and you may apply for your Firearms Certificate. Club members should be able to guide you with what you may need.
5, Know the law show that you have a good understanding of the law as some Firearms Officers can be new to the job and may be unaware of certain things.
6, Be polite upon receiving your interview
To obtain an FAC for hunting or pest control you must have written permission from a landowner to carry out such activities.
This can often be a difficult method to gain entry to shooting sports as an outsider as you often need to know someone who has land or who carries out such activities for a landowner.
You can book paid stalks and this is sufficient reason to apply for an FAC.
Things to consider
1, Safety– Safety is paramount and ensure you are familiar and well-practiced with the basic rules of firearms safety
- Always assume a firearm is loaded and check it is unloaded/make safe
- Never point it at anything you do not wish to damage or destroy
- Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire
- Always be sure of the target and what is beyond
With rifles it is especially important to ensure you have a safe backstop as bullets can travel great distances and following a parabolic trajectory will be just as lethal on the way down as on the way up. NEVER SHOOT INTO THE SKY, this may seem at odds if you have previous experiences clay shooting or game shooting with shotguns however pellets drop off rather quickly and fall to earth harmlessly.
2, What quarry is present on the land and have permission to shoot will affect your choice of firearms.
3, Know the law show that you have a good understanding of the law as some Firearms Officers can be new to the job and may be unaware of certain things.
A Firearms Grant currently costs £88. Most Police forces will allow you to download an application form from their websites but do ring your local Firearms Licensing department if you’re having trouble finding it
You’ll need to fill in their Application for the grant or renewal of a Firearm and/or Shotgun Certificate form.
You’ll need to state all of your details including relevant medical conditions (you also give the Police permission to contact your GP or specialists if required), past offences, past addresses, details on your security and so on. They will also ask for details of a suitable person who has agreed to act as a referee for you – you need two for a Firearms Certificate.
Now you’ll need to fill out the Good Reason form, which provides details on land you have permission to shoot over and/or club membership.
Make sure you read the forms in detail and make sure you understand everything, if you don’t, ask someone.
Get yourself four passport style photos done, sign one of them in ink. Now sign that cheque for the amount required, sign the Firearms Grant GP Letter and package everything off in recorded delivery (minimum) to your local Firearms Licensing.
Applications are known to take anywhere from 2 weeks to 9 months depending on your local force. It’s best speaking to your local Firearms Licensing to get an idea of turn around.
Don’t forget you can get a co-terminus SGC and FAC if you’d like both. It will save you money on grant and renewal to get them at the same time.
We have reiterated how important it is for firearms enthusiasts to be aware of the law and how it applies to them. Firearms legislation is increasingly complex and often draconian and whilst we are working hard with other associations to see rational reform we must remain diligent at all times.
We believe firearms ownership is a right however it must also be re-iterated that it is a great responsibility it is our duty to follow the law and maintain an enjoyable yet safe sport.