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How to Get a Gun License in England

Updated February 21, 2017

When Parliament passed a law banning the purchase of handguns, it became even more difficult to get a license for any type of gun, including rifles. Difficult doesn't mean impossible however, and if you're willing to put up with a rigorous application process and an interview, then you can obtain a permit to purchase shotguns or rifles. Start early, if you're trying to obtain a gun by a specific date, because it can take several months and it wouldn't be uncommon for an application to be denied. Being prepared and knowing what the steps are can help you pass the process the first time.

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  1. Be able to verbalize exactly why you need a gun certificate. You may want to consider becoming a member of a shooting club, for example.

  2. Go to the police station in the area where you are a resident and request a shotgun or rifle certificate. Do not attempt to fill out the form at the police station.

  3. Answer the questions on the form. You'll have to fill out basic information like your name, address, and workplace, but you'll also have to indicate every place you've lived for the last five years. There will also be questions about your medical history and any criminal convictions. Be sure to answer completely, no matter how minor something may seem to you.

  4. Sign a release authorizing the police to access your medical records; give them the name and contact information for your doctor.

  5. Write out an explanation for how you'll store your gun. Research what your local jurisdiction prefers so that you aren't denied a certificate. It should likely include a lock, be mounted to a wall, and be made of metal.

  6. Obtain four passport-sized photos.

  7. Find a respected member of the community--a doctor, a lawyer, a judge, or a politician, for example--who has known you for at least two years and is willing to vouch for you. They'll have to fill out part of your form and sign the back of one of your passport photos.

  8. Return the form, the photographs, and the 50 pound fee to the police station.

  9. Install your gun safe. The police or a professional working for them will come by to discuss the form with you and to inspect your safety facilities. If they find your answers satisfactory, then you should receive your certificate in the mail several weeks later.

  10. Tip

    You must be 17 to apply for a firearm certificate in England, but there is no minimum age for a shotgun certificate. Gun certificates are valid for five years.

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Things You'll Need

  • Four passport photos

About the Author

Melly Parker has been writing since 2007, focusing on health, business, technology and home improvement. She has also worked as a teacher and a bioassay laboratory technician. Parker now serves as a marketing specialist at one of the largest mobile app developers in the world. She holds a Master of Science in English.

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