Ian Anderson answers some of the frequently asked questions in connection with firearm and shotgun licensing:
Why would my certificate be refused or revoked?
A new application or renewal may be refused, or an existing certificate may be revoked if the Chief Officer of Police believes that:
- You cannot be permitted to possess a shotgun or firearm without a danger to public safety or the peace
- You are not fit to possess a firearm because you are not “of sound mind” or you are physically unable to safely operate a firearm
- You do not have a good reason to possess a firearm
- You are of “intemperate habits”
- Your security is unsatisfactory
How can medical issues affect my certificate?
Careful attention is paid to your medical records when the police are considering a revocation or refusal and your GP will return a form which deals with your physical and mental health.
Certain medical issues may be problematic such as:
- Mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression or suicidal ideation
- Medical conditions affecting your ability to safely operate the firearm, such as chronic arthritis
- Memory loss
- Stress related illness
- Evidence of drug or alcohol abuse
- The prescription or side-effects of certain medication, for example opioid painkillers
If your certificate is refused or revoked on medical grounds it may be worth lodging an appeal and obtaining independent medical evidence, such as a psychiatric report or hair strand analysis to counter any suggestion that you are medically unfit to possess a firearm.
What is meant by “a danger to public safety or the peace?”
The police will consider this question in a wide context. They will look at previous convictions, but also consider any association with known criminals, domestic instability and police intelligence of incidents such as ‘road rage’ or anti-social behavior.
Special emphasis is placed on firearms-related offences, domestic violence incidents, and dishonesty.
What is meant by “intemperate habits?”
The term used to relate to excessive consumption of alcohol, or recreational drug use. In recent years, this has been extended to cover all forms of anti-social, aggressive, or unpredictable behavior. The police will consider any intelligence held on their systems and any medical evidence disclosed which suggests that the person may be abusing substances, behaving erratically or suffering from poor mental health.
What is meant by a “good reason” to possess a firearm?
There are many good reasons to possess a firearm or shotgun. The sporting enjoyment is a common “good reason”, as is the need to control pests. Good reason can be established for a shotgun which is a valuable family heirloom or a collection of antique firearms. Having a rifle that you don’t use is likely to cause an issue when it comes to renewal. Ammunition is separately controlled so the police will know if you haven’t been using your rifle between renewals. Rifle owners who wish to keep their rifle should continue to shoot regularly.
When will my firearm or shotgun certificate expire?
Shotgun and firearms certificates usually expire 5 years after the issuing of the certificate.
What is adequate security for a firearm or shotgun?
You must secure your firearms or shotgun in an approved cabinet or safe which has been inspected by the Police. You must also take great care when transporting or cleaning a firearm or shogun and you should not leave the firearm insecure at any time. This applies particularly when returning home from shooting or when preparing to leave the house to shoot. You must ensure that nobody else can access the cabinet or the keys. Ammunition for a firearm must always be kept separately and securely away from the firearm itself (this does not apply to shotgun cartridges).
Can anyone else transport my firearm?
The only person authorised to transport a firearm is the certificate-holder or a registered firearms dealer. The only way another individual would be able to transport your firearm is if they also hold a certificate for that specific firearm.
What can I do if my certificate is revoked or refused by the police?
If you wish to challenge a revocation or refusal, you should appeal to the Crown Court. The appeal must be lodged within 21 days of the initial decision.
If you would like to appeal against a revocation or refusal, or you require advice regarding an application, please get in touch with Ian Anderson on 0113 849 4011.