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Firearms licensing

The Firearms Licensing Department is responsible for issuing certificates for firearms, shotguns and explosives to residents within the Northumbria Police area.

Firearm certificates are granted by chief officers of police if they are satisfied that applicants have a good reason for having in their possession, purchasing or acquiring, a firearm or ammunition. You will need to complete several forms to register a firearm or shotgun with Northumbria police.

Planning a vermin/pest controlled shoot 

When planning a vermin/pest control shoot you should contact Northumbria Police on telephone number 101 or send a text to 07786 200814 to advise the Police of your intention to shoot. Please provide details of the land that you will be shooting on and the approximate times. This action may prevent any unnecessary police action being taken should a member of the public report the shooting.

Contact us  

By post:

Northumbria Police

Firearms and Explosives Licensing

Bedlington Police Station

Schalksmuhle Road

Bedlington

Northumberland

NE22 7LA

Email: firearmslicensing@northumbria.pnn.police.uk

Telephone number: 0191 4373315

How to apply

Applying for a firearms or shotgun certificate

All applications are made to the chief officer of police for the area where you live.

A chief officer of police must not grant a certificate to anyone they have reason to believe is;

  • Prohibited by the Act from possessing a firearm or

  • Is of intemperate habits or unsound mind or

  • Is for any reason unfit to be trusted with a firearm

They must also be satisfied that the applicant;

  • Has good reason for needing a firearm or ammunition.

  • Can be permitted to have the firearm or ammunition without danger to public safety or to the peace.

Every application will be considered and assessed for suitability using all relevant information available to us.

Applications must be made using Form 201.

If you do not have access to a PC with printing facilities you can contact the firearms licensing department or you can visit your local police station to get a form. 

The application form must be completed to the required standard before being sent to the firearms licensing department. Once it has been checked for completeness all relevant enquiries will be made and we may contact you to arrange a home visit or we may discuss the application with you by phone.

When we speak to you we will talk about your lifestyle, domestic arrangements, health and well being. If we visit you, we will check your home and gun security. On either occasion we will answer any questions and provide guidance.

We will subsequently advise you in writing that your application has been granted or refused. If it is refused the fee and your photographs will be returned.

Certificates issued by Northumbria Police will be printed in black ink only.

Referees

  • When applying for a firearm certificate, you should have gained the permission of two people who have agreed to act as referees for you. You must complete Parts F and G with their details. When applying for a shotgun certificate you should have gained the permission of one person to act as a referee for you. You must complete part F with their details.

  • The referee(s) who have agreed to act for you must have known you personally for at least two years and must be resident in Great Britain. A referee must not be a member of your immediate family, a registered firearms dealer, a serving police officer, a police employee, a Police and Crime Commissioner or a member of their staff, or a member of, or a member of staff of, the Scottish Police Authority. Referees must be of good character and any references they agree to provide must be given freely and not on payment.

Security

Before granting a certificate, the chief officer of police needs to be satisfied that all guns will be stored securely, there are however no statutory provisions on how this duty will be discharged.

The Firearms Rules do not prescribe the form of safekeeping or security to be adopted. The police must look at the individual circumstances of each case and of the overall security arrangements that will be in place. The level of security must be proportionate to the risk in each case.

In most circumstances guns and relevant ammunition should be secured within the occupied structure of the dwelling; detached buildings, garages and outhouses should not be used unless the levels of security are considered by the police to be satisfactory.

Section 1 ammunition should be stored separately from Section 1 firearms.

Renew a firearm/ shot gun certificate

Firearm and shotgun certificates are valid for five years.  Fourteen weeks before the certificate expiry date we will send you notice that your certificate is due to expire.

We ask that you return your completed renewal application form to us ten weeks before the expiry date. In most cases this will be sufficient time to enable us to complete our enquiries and get your new certificate to you before the expiry date. This form and the accompanying guidance notes are available to download below.

Form 201 - Application (PDF) https://www.northumbria.police.uk/media/10801163/form-201-application.pdf

Once the application has been checked for completeness all relevant enquiries will be made and we may contact you to arrange a home visit or we may discuss the application with you by phone.

When we speak to you we will talk about your lifestyle, domestic arrangements, health and well being. If we visit you, we will check your home and gun security. On either occasion we will answer any questions and provide guidance.

We will subsequently advise you in writing that your application has been granted or refused. If it is refused the fee and your photographs will be returned.

If you have submitted your renewal application eight weeks or more prior to the certificate expiry and it has not been renewed, then a temporary permit will be issued for a period of eight weeks or until the licensing authority has made a decision on the application. Any extension to the certificate validity date will be treated as part of the period for the renewed certificate (if applicable).

If you have not submitted your renewal application eight weeks or more prior to the certificate expiry, then you will not be issued with a temporary permit and you will be committing an offence if you are still in the possession of guns and/or ammunition once your certificate has expired.

If a certificate expires

Prior to the expiry of the certificate you will need to make arrangements to move the guns and ammunition to an authorised representative and advise the licensing authority of those arrangements.

If you want to regain possession of the items you will need to apply for the grant of a certificate.

Buying, selling and transferring firearms and shot guns

When you receive your first firearm certificate there will be no details of any possessed guns, there will however be details of the guns and the quantity of ammunition you are authorised to possess.

If you buy or sell a gun or a component part, the actual handing over of the item must be made person-to-person. The person transferring the item to you must enter the required details in the correct place on the appropriate certificate (firearm or shot gun).

REMEMBER THE SELLER MUST ENTER THE DETAILS - NOT THE BUYER

Having acquired or disposed of a gun or component part you must inform your firearms licensing department of the transaction within 7 days providing the following information;

  • date of transaction
  • name, address and certificate number of the other person
  • calibre, make, action and serial number of each gun transferred

If you dispose of a gun or a component part to a Registered Firearms Dealer, they will enter the transaction in their register – you must notify the firearms licensing department of this transaction within 7 days as above.

It is not necessary to send in your certificate for such notifications.

Download Transfer of a Firearm Shotgun Form here (PDF) 

Variation of a firearm certificate

Once a firearm certificate has been granted, an application to vary the firearms and ammunition authorised or held must be made to the chief officer of police of the area in which the holder lives.

All applications for variations must be made using Form 201V, available to download below:

Form 201V - Variation (PDF) https://www.northumbria.police.uk/media/10801166/form-201v.pdf

No new photographs or referees are required.

The appropriate fee is payable only when the variation application results in an increase in the number of firearms authorised by the certificate. This fee is waived when a variation application is made at the same time as a renewal.

Variations

A variation application is required when there are changes to the Firearms you possess or intend to acquire. This does not apply to guns held by virtue of a Shot gun certificate.

  • One-for-one variations
  • On every occasion when you wish to replace an existing firearm.

On every occasion when you wish to change an authority you already have, to enable you to acquire a gun of a different calibre or a component part.

These applications are free of charge if submitted within a reasonable period of time after disposal.

For all other variations a fee of £20.00 is payable. This would include circumstances when;

  • The number of guns and/or component parts you hold increases, this includes the addition of sound moderators.

Your current firearm certificate must be sent to Firearms Licensing at the same time that a variation application is submitted. There is no requirement however for you to submit new photographs or referee details with a stand alone variation application.

A request to vary the firearms you wish to acquire, submitted as part of a renewal application does not attract a variation fee. The renewal application must be completed in full including the requirement to submit photographs, referee details and the renewal fee. The renewal takes priority and any variation would not be authorised until the renewal certificate is issued.

Fees and Charges

Please ensure that all cheques are dated, signed and made payable to Northumbria Police. 
We also accept postal orders but not cash.

Certificate Type

Grant or renewal of certificate

Total fee payable

Firearm certificate

Grant

£88.00

Firearm certificate

Renewal

£62.00

Shot gun certificate

Grant

£79.50

Shot gun certificate

Renewal

£49.00

Replacement certificate

 

£4.00

Co-terminous certificates

Grant of both shot gun and firearm certificates

£90.00

Co-terminous certificates

Grant of a shot gun certificate/renewal of a firearm certificate

£90.00

Co-terminous certificates

Renewal of a shot gun certificate/grant of a firearm certificate

£90.00

Co-terminous certificates

Renewal of both shot gun and firearm certificates

£65.00

 

Variation (Firearm certificates only). One for one variations - this is when you wish to replace an existing firearm or when you wish to change an authority you already have, to enable you to acquire a gun of a different calibre or a component part.

 

£20.00 (but if variation request is submitted at same time as renewal application this fee is waived).

 

Visitors' permit

Individual

£20.00

 

Visitors' permit

Group (six or more permits)

£100.00

 

Registered firearms dealer

Grant/renewal

£200.00

 

Target shooting

Good reason

In the case of target shooting, an applicant needs to demonstrate “good reason” for the firearms requested. “Good reason” can only be satisfied by the applicant being a full and active member of a Home Office approved club (probationary membership is not acceptable) and the club must be approved for the use of the firearms requested in the application.

It is a legal requirement that firearm certificates issued for target shooting show the name of the principal Home Office approved club to which the certificate holder belongs within the conditions of the certificate.

This does not mean, however, that the firearms authorised can only be used at that location, since certificate holders may be members of more than one club, and may be involved in competition shooting at other venues.

When applying for a firearm certificate, applicants should bear in mind that they should only apply for:

  • The number of firearms that they can store securely
  • The authority to acquire the number of firearms which they intend to use and are able to use, on a regular basis

It is a requirement that Home Office approved clubs keeps a record of attendance by their members and the weapons that they use. Clubs are also required to notify the police of those members who have let their club membership lapse or who have not attended in a twelve month period.

Therefore, unless there are extenuating circumstances, this could mean that if a certificate holder were to fail to attend the shooting club regularly, or did not use all of their firearms regularly, good reason for all or some of the firearms held on their certificate could be called into question. This could perhaps ultimately lead to the full or partial revocation of the firearm certificate.

In respect of Section 1 ammunition it is usual only to allow possession of the same calibres as the firearms possessed or to be acquired, and it should be noted that ammunition must also be stored securely within a separate lockable container.

When good reason has been satisfied and all other enquiries have proved satisfactory a firearm certificate will be issued showing the firearms which are authorised to be purchased.  The certificate will also bear conditions showing the purpose for which the firearms are to be used.

Vermin control/deer stalking and land suitability

In the case of hunting, an applicant needs to demonstrate “good reason” for the firearms requested.

“Good reason” can only be satisfied by the applicant supplying written permission from the land owner or person who holds the shooting rights where they have permission to use the firearm requested.

There are certain recognised and acceptable calibres of weapon for most vermin and deer. 

Land used must be safe for the calibre of weapon in question. Initially land is deemed suitable, or not, by the Chief Officer of police.

This requires a land inspection by a Firearms Enquiry Officer, in conjunction with the land owner or his agent. Various factors must be taken into consideration including the acreage, position of public footpaths, surrounding roads and dwellings and the general lay of the land.

Providing the land is suitable and the firearms requested are suitable for the purpose requested, a firearm certificate may be granted, authorising specific firearms and ammunition use for the required purpose on land deemed suitable by the Chief Officer of police.

 

Each and every application will be treated on its own merit.

Suitability of land

Land used must be safe for the calibre of weapon in question. Initially land is deemed suitable, or not, by the Chief Officer of police.

This requires a land inspection by a Firearms Enquiry Officer, in conjunction with the land owner or his agent. Various factors must be taken into consideration including the acreage, position of public footpaths, surrounding roads and dwellings and the general lay of the land.

Providing the land is suitable and the firearms requested are suitable for the purpose requested, a firearm certificate may be granted, authorising specific firearms and ammunition use for the required purpose on land deemed suitable by the Chief Officer of police.

Each and every application will be treated on its own merit.

Club applications and renewals

All applications in England and Wales for approval (new or renewal) should be submitted directly to the Home Office via the below link:  https://www.firearms-licensing.homeoffice.gov.uk/shooting-clubs/privacy

Applications should no longer be sent directly to the Police.

Before applying you must ensure that you meet the criteria as set out in the Home Office clubs leaflet: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/approval-of-rifle-and-muzzle-loading-pistol-clubs 

The fee for a renewal is £84 and approval is valid for 6 years. You should apply to renew your approval to the Home Office at least 3 months before expiry date. 

Medical information fact sheet

This information has been supplied by the Home Office to support the application process.

GP and Police information sharing guide  (hyperlinked)

GP and Police information sharing process  (hyperlinked)

Firearms licensing and medical evident factsheet  (hyperlinked)

 

Air weapons licensing in Scotland

The Scottish Government is introducing a new licensing system for most air weapons in Scotland. If you are asked for information about this or if this is of interest to you personally, please be aware of the following;

From 31 December 2016, you will generally need a visitor permit to own, use, purchase or acquire air weapons while in Scotland. Visitor Permits are issued by Police Scotland.

If you are aged 14 or over and you hold a valid firearm and/or shotgun certificate issued in England or in Wales on any date before 31st December 2016,  you won’t need a separate licence to own or use air weapons while in Scotland however this does not extend to the purchasing of an air weapon whilst you are in Scotland; you would need to apply for a visitors permit to do that.

If you are aged 14 and over and your valid firearm and/or shotgun certificate was issued (granted or renewed) in England or in Wales after 31st December 2016  you will need to apply for a visitors permit to own, use or purchase an air weapon while in Scotland.

Applications for visitor permits (or full air weapon certificates) should be made to Police Scotland who will assess your application and deal with any questions you have about the process.  You can download the appropriate application form from www.airweapon.scot or www.scotland.police.uk.  When complete, it should be sent to Police Scotland at:

Air Weapons Team:

Police Scotland

Clyde Gateway

2 French Street

Dalmarnock

Glasgow

G40 4EH

You can also get further information on air weapon licensing, including information on exemptions from the need to hold a certificate, at www.airweapon.scot 

Police and Crime Act (Section 1 ammunition)

As from 2 May 2017 only expanding ammunition which is solely designed for use in pistols is to be regarded as prohibited by virtue of Section 5(1A)(f) Firearms Act 1968 (as amended).

NABIS has identified the following calibre ammunition which is solely designed for use in pistols: 

.32 S&W

.32 Colt

.320 Revolver

.380 Revolver

.45 Auto Rim

.44 Automag

.50 Action Express

Any “Wildcat” special load pistol ammunition designed to used only in pistols.

 All other expanding ammunition is to be regarded as Section 1 and should be treated in the same way as non-expanding ammunition with no requirement to add the expanding ammunition condition to the FAC. 

In practical terms the majority of pistol calibre ammunition types we see on firearm certificates are dual use and can be used in rifles, commonly carbines, gallery rifles etc. 

Please note that this means that the requirement to add the expanding ammunition condition on Firearm Certificates in the future is negligible and will only be added on those rare occasions which is detailed above.

For more information visit the Home Office guidance on Firearms Licensing Law

 

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