BZH's Improved UK Firearms Law Post (now with pics)

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BZH's Improved UK Firearms Law Post (now with pics)

Post by Brit-ZedHunter » Sun Jun 07, 2009 2:09 pm

Hi Guys,

I thought I would repost this. I had it taken down because of something that was going on and because I'm paranoid :)

Since I am reposting, I thought I may as well make some improvements along the way and add some pictures.

DISCLAIMER
The information below is an explanation of UK Firearms Licensing Laws. These are not tips and tricks for how you can get a license or aquire firearms. All of this information is freely available via the internet or your local Police Force. If after reading the information below you decide to apply for a Shotgun Certificate or Firearms Certificate, it is the responsibility of the Police to decide whether you are fit / safe. Hence, if you obtain firearms, and do something retarded, that is your problem, not mine.

With that out of the way...

FIREARMS

Firearm Classification
As most of you know, Firearms over here are classified by different sections of the Firearms Legislation. Below is a general overview of each:

Section 1
Section 1 covers the majority of firearms we can legally own. They consist of:
Bolt action rifles (any caliber)
Semi Automatic Rifles (.22lr only)
Straight pull rifles (any caliber)
Shotguns with a magazine capable of holding more than 2 cartridges
Black powder pistols (rifled barrel)
Black powder rifles (rifled barrel)
Sound moderators, silencers and supressors
Long barreled revolvers **
Long barreled pistols **

There are no restrictions on magazine capacity
Minimum barrel length of a rife is 12 inches
Minimum overall length of a rifle is 24 inches
High capacity shotguns have a min barrel length of 24 inches
High capacity shotguns have a min OAL of 40 inches.

**Long barreled revolvers are a bit of a grey area, they are neither a pistol or a rifle but fit somewhere inbetween. They tend to have a 12inch barrel and something on the back of the hand grip so that they meet the OAL requirements of a rifle. Many police forces dont like to grant them. See the below picture for an example of an LBR:

Image

**Long barreled pistols are another grey area, they tend to be .22lr semi-automatic pistols with similar modifications to the LBRs. The most popular the Browning Buckmarks. See below:

Image

Some people do use both of the above for shooting IPSC style practical pistol.

Section 2
Section 2 covers shotguns that have a capacity of 2+1 (2 in the magazine and one in the chamber) or less. It also covers smooth bore blackpowder weapons. Some examples would be:
Over and under shotguns
Side by side shotguns
Pump actions shotguns with a capacity of 2+1 or less
Semi automatic shotguns with a capacity of 2+1 or less
Smooth bore black powder weapons with a bore less than 2 inches (muskets etc)

Section 2 weapons must not have a barrel less than 24 inches
Most not have a bore that exceeds 2 inches in diameter
Cannot be a revolver

Section 5
Section 5 is broken down into a number of subsections. These licenses are very difficult to get hold of and have to be approved by the Home Office, whereas Section 1 and 2 licenses are dealt with by your local Police force. Below is a breakdown of the various Section 5 weapons:
Section 5(1)(a) - Covers all weapons which are so designed or adapted that two or more missiles can be successively discharged without repeated
pressure on the trigger.
Section 5(1)(ab) - Covers any self-loading or pump-action rifled gun other than one which is chambered for .22 rimfire cartridges.
Section 5(1)(aba) - Covers any firearm which either has a barrel less than 30 cm in length or is less than 60 cm in length overall, other than an air weapon, a
muzzle loading gun or a firearm designed as a signalling apparatus.
Section 5(1)(ac) - Covers any self-loading or pump-action smooth-bore gun which is not an air weapon or chambered for .22 rimfire cartridges and either has
a barrel less than 24 inches in length or is less than 40 inches in length overall.
Section 5(1)(ad) - Covers any smooth-bore revolver gun other than one which is chambered for 9 mm rimfire cartridges or a muzzle-loading gun.
Section 5(1)(ae) - Covers any rocket launcher, or any mortar, for projecting a stabilised missile, other than a launcher or mortar designed for line-throwing or
pyrotechnic purposes or as a signalling apparatus.
Section 5(1)(af) - Covers any air rifle, air gun or air pistol which uses, or is designed or adapted for use with a self-contained gas catridge system.
Section 5(1)(b) - Covers any weapon of whatever description designed or adapted for the discharge of any noxious liquid, gas or other thing.
Section 5(1)(c) - Covers any cartridge with a bullet designed to explode on or immediately before impact, any ammunition containing or designed or
adapted to contain any such noxious thing as is mentioned in section 5(1)(b) and, if capable of being used with a firearm of any
description, any grenade, bomb (or other missile), or rocket or shell designed to explode as aforesaid.
Section 5(1A)(a) - Covers any firearm which is disguised as another object.
Section 5(1A)(b) - Covers any rocket or ammunition not falling within section 5(1)(c) which consists in or incorporates a missile designed to explode on or
immediately before impact and is for military use.
Section 5(1A)(c) - Covers any launcher or other projecting apparatus not falling within section 5(1)(ae) which is designed to be used with any rocket or
ammunition falling within section 5(1A)(b) or with ammunition which would fall within that paragraph but for its being ammunition falling
within section 5(1)(c).
Section 5(1A)(d) - Covers any ammunition for military use which consists in or incorporates a missile designed so that a substance contained in the missile
will ignite on or immediately before impact.
Section 5(1A)(e) - Covers any ammunition for military use which consists in or incorporates a missile designed, on account of its having a jacket and
hard-core, to penetrate armour plating, armour screening or body armour.
Section 5(1A)(f) - Covers any ammunition which incorporates a missile designed or adapted to expand on impact.
Section 5(1A)(g) - Covers anything which is designed to be projected as a missile from any weapon and is designed to be, or has been, incorporated in-
(i) any ammunition falling within any of the parts of section 5(1A); or
(ii) any ammunition which would fall within section 5(1A) but for its being specified in any part of section 5(1)

If it is not clear to you at this point why it's not easy to get a Section 5 license I suggest you move to America ;)

Section 7

Section 7 is meant for guns of historic or other reasons are exepmted from the other sections.
Section 7.1 is for Handguns that can be held at home but are not permitted to be fired
Section 7.3 is for Handguns that can be fired but must be kept in storage at a club.

AMMUNITION

Ammunition Classification

Section 1
There are quantity restrictions placed on the ammunition you can hold. When you apply for a Firearms License, or a variation (more on this later) there are two boxes on the form for each caliber you are applying for.

These are the maximum quantity of a given caliber that you wish to posess at any one time, and the maximum quantity of a given caliber that you wish to be able to purchase in one go. How much ammunition you are allowed to hold/purchase varies massively between the various police forces and appears to be soley at their discretion.

See below screenshot of my own FAC showing ammo allowences to get a better idea of how it works:

Image

Each time you purchase ammunition it is recorded on your Firearms Certificate. At renewal time, the Police will look at your ammunition purchase patterns and if you are not purchasing it regularly they can (and often do) reduce your quantities without asking/telling you.

There are further restriction on what is known as 'expanding ammunition'. This ammunition is permitted for hunting only, not target shooting. If you are entitiled to purchase expanding ammunition, this will be specified on your license specifically.

Section 2
Shotgun cartridges (with the exception of Slugs) are not restricted in the same way. You can theoretically buy as many as you want, most people do buy 1000 at a time as this normally gives a good discount.

Black powder
If you choose to get into blackpowder shooting (it is quite fun!) there are a few facts you should be aware of.

You can posess up to 10kg of Blackpowder without needing an Explosives license. If you need to purchase more than this (why?!) you will need to apply for a license.
You can posess up to 15kg of Percussion caps without needing a license. They are tiny and very light so I can't imagine why anyone would need anywhere near this amount.

Black powder must be stored in a Police approved Wooden Box of very specific dimenstions and specifications. You can buy these from most Registered Firearms dealers.
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Re: BZH's Improved UK Firearms Law Post (now with pics)

Post by Brit-ZedHunter » Sun Jun 07, 2009 2:09 pm

LICENSE APPLICATION

I will start by explaining the process for applying for a Shotgun license as this is a lot simpler.

Applying for a Shotgun License (Section 2)

The Shotgun License application process is fairly simple. Firstly you need to call your local Police Force and ask for the relevant application form. They will normally post it out to you fairly quickly. Some forces do offer the form online but it never hurts to open a dialogue with them over the phone.

The form will ask for the usual personal details (name, address, past addresses, DOB etc). Strangely they also ask for your height. They also ask for details of your GP.

They will ask you to declare whether you have ever been convicted of any offense. Traffic offences DO count towards this. I have spoken to people who have been given a hard time during the application process about speeding fines etc.

They also ask if you have epilepsy, any mental problem, depression. You must sign to say that you give them permission to view your medical records.

You need to provide a written reference. This needs to be written by a person of good standing similar to a passport application.

Once they receive your application they will call and arrange a visit. During the visit they will ask you about why you want to own a shotgun. Valid reasons are pest control (if you have land that is approved for shooting) and more commonly, clay pigeon shooting. You don't have to be a member of a club but some forces may require this. During my application I told them I intended to join a club and they were satisfied that this was enough. I did end up joining a club shortly after I received my license.

During the visit they will also look at the general security of your house. They will take note of things like whether you have an alarm, double glazing, secure doors etc.

Finally you must have a Gun Cabinet which is bolted to the structure of the house. This means it can't be a 'stud' type wall, it has to be solid brick. The cabinet must also be out of the general line of sight. Even if it is upstairs, someone looking through the window must not be able to see it. There are various standards your Gun Cabinet must meet but if you just buy one of the mainstream brans like Brattonsound you should be fine.

Providing there are no issues with you or your security the whole process should only take a few weeks. Shotgun applications are rarely refused unless you have a criminal record.

Applying for a Firearms License


To apply for a Firearms License you need to either have land that can be certified safe for shooting or be a member of a Home Office approvced club. You must join the club before you can apply. There is a statutary requirement for a 3 month probationary period during which time the club will expect you to make a minimum number of visits. During this time you will be under one on one supervision with a full club member who will determine whether you are a safe shooter. Once you pass your probationary period, only then can you apply for a license.

The form requires all the same personal information as the Shotgun Form. The main difference between the forms that is on this application you need to actually specify what type of weapons you want to buy and in what calibers. You can only apply for something that your club / land is certified for.

There are 5 slots on the form that you can fill in with Guns that you want. Note that a moderator / silencer takes a slot on its own. On your initial appliction, it is wise to go easy on what you request, your club will advise you on what is sensible to put on there. An example of this part of the form would look like this:

Caliber Action Reason Where will you use it?
.22lr Bolt action Target shooting xxxx Club
.22lr Sound moderator Health and safety xxxx Club
.38/.357 Lever Action Target shooting xxxx club

In this section you also need to put the contact details of your club secretary. They will contact him/her to verify you are a full member.

The next section deals with ammunition quantities. Your club will be best placed to advise you on what amounts your local force are happy with. On my initial FAC application I was granted:

.22lr 1200 max posession 1000 max purchase
.38/.357 600 max posession 500 max purchase

The other difference between the forms is that this time you need two references.

Once your application is in the process is similar to above. They will arrange a visit, come and talk to you about what you want to do etc. You will need to have a separate cabinet though for storing Section 1 ammunition.


I have my liceneses, can I buy loads of stuff now?

Shotguns (S2)

Purchasing Section 2 weapons is very straight forward. Techically once you have your license you can buy as many shotguns as you like. However, big brother is no doubt watching so if you go and buy 100 I'm sure someone will want to talk to you about it.

To make your purchase you simply go into the gun shop, tell them what you want, pay and they write what you have bought on your certificate.

Then they send of a form to the Police informing them of what you have bought and the serial numbers.

They will also give you a form that you have to sign and send to the police via Registered Post within 7 days. Make sure you do use Registered post as I have heard of people getting in trouble for not doing this.

You do not need to send back your license so the Shotgun will stay hand written on your license and will only get formally added at renewal time or if you have to send it to the police for some other reason.

Shotgun ammunition purchase (except slugs which are Section 1) are not recorded and you can buy as much as you want. Again, im sure if you buy a rediculous amount it will appear on someones radar.

Firearms (S1)
The process of buying a firearm is similar. The only difference being that you will need to have the caliber that you want to purchase on your license. If you have one 'slot' for a .22lr you can only buy one weapon in that caliber then that slot is considered used. If you then sell that gun, the slot is gone and you will need to apply for it again. If you part exchange one gun for another of the same caliber, you don't lose the slot.

See below a screenshot of my own license to get a better idea of how this 'slot' system works:

Image

This shows that I own:
.22lr Sound moderator
.22lr Semi Auto rifle (my .22 AR, the name on it is the name of the proof house since AR's are made up of parts from various manufacturers)
.357 Marlin 1894 Lever action.

It shows empty slots for:
.22lr Rifle (a 2nd one)
Section 1 shotgun
.357 Long Barrelled revolver
.303 Rifle
7.62/.308 Rifle

I have actually filled the S1 shotgun and 7.62/.308 slots but havent sent my license back since, so they are written on in pen in a later section. These won't be formally added until I apply for a variation or renewal time.

Once all allotted slots are filled, you can fill in a variation form. If you are changing one empty slot for an empty slot of a different caliber there is no charge but if you are applying for more stuff there is a charge. Normally around £25. The variation form is actually the same form as you use to apply for a license only that you dont need references. The police will consider your reasons, what you want and where you will shoot it and normally get back to you quite quickly. You can also send in a variation if you want to increase your ammunition quantities. If you do this they will look at your purchase history to check whether you have been actually using what you have bought. They are entitled at any time to come and actually count what you have. I have never heard of this hapenning though.

Well I think that just about sums it up. If anyone has any questions or suggestions of what could be added, let me know.
Last edited by Brit-ZedHunter on Sun Jun 07, 2009 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: BZH's Improved UK Firearms Law Post (now with pics)

Post by Brit-ZedHunter » Sun Jun 07, 2009 2:09 pm

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Re: BZH's Improved UK Firearms Law Post (now with pics)

Post by thelastspaniard » Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:33 pm

Here is some more info

http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk/publica ... idance.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Sound moderators, silencers and supressors are not a section 1 firearms you can them for air weapons and shotgun without a FAC.

'There is a statutary requirement for a 3 month probationary period' is that if you a FAC allready? because both my firearms officer and club in my area say its 6 months without FAC.

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Re: BZH's Improved UK Firearms Law Post (now with pics)

Post by Brit-ZedHunter » Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:40 pm

thelastspaniard wrote:Here is some more info

http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk/publica ... idance.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Sound moderators, silencers and supressors are not a section 1 firearms you can them for air weapons and shotgun without a FAC.

'There is a statutary requirement for a 3 month probationary period' is that if you a FAC allready? because both my firearms officer and club in my area say its 6 months without FAC.
I THINK its 3 months. The club I joined wanted 3 months and I got my license with no problems. I saw a lot of clubs wanting 6 months though. Maybe its another one of these stupid inconsistencies between the different police forces. I guess the best way to find out would be to go straight to the statute.
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Re: BZH's Improved UK Firearms Law Post (now with pics)

Post by loimprevisto » Wed May 18, 2011 12:20 pm

I've been doing some research on the paperwork required to import a firearm after acquiring a permit, and I came across some documents that might be helpful to others:
The British Association for Shooting and Conservation has a leaflet with a good overview of the applicable laws
This HMRC document on firearms import & control is an overview of the policy straight from the horse's mouth.

In a few months I'll be starting the process of applying for a license and importing my bolt action rifles from the US. I'll update this thread with any useful bits of information I become aware of...
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Re: BZH's Improved UK Firearms Law Post (now with pics)

Post by Fletch » Thu May 19, 2011 8:12 am

Thanks for the incredibly helpful and informative post, great work
Image
"They want their jobs to be easy, and a policeman's job is easy only in a police state."

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