Applying for a Firearms Certificate (FAC)
This page is intended to
give prospective shooters information on the procedures involved in applying
for a Firearms Certificate (FAC) in the United Kingdom. The procedure has been
significantly complicated since the Cullen Inquiry with the introduction of a
requirement to have 2 referees and extra forms for them to complete. However
I'm sure we all want the ownership of firearms to continue in as safe a way as
possible and anyway what's a few forms compared to the enjoyment of shooting as
hobby for 5 years!
Only full members of
target shooting clubs or those with permission to shoot over land may apply for
a FAC. If your sole use of firearms is for target shooting then you must remain
a member of at least one target shooting club or the police will no longer consider
that you have a legitimate reason for owning firearms and are likely to revoke
This is the main form and its contents are prescribed by the Home Office. The form is used for applying for the grant, renewal or variation of a FAC. Some police forces issued supplementary forms which ask additional questions but they are not mandatory and do not necessarily have to be completed. However unless the questions are irrelevant to the issue of applying for a licence to purchase, own and use firearms and ammunition, my view is that it is better to complete all forms honestly as it will no doubt help your application to slip smoothly through the police's administrative procedures.
Form 101 is issued by your
local police force and can usually be collected from any police station. If
supplies are not available a call to the Firearms Licensing Department (in
Humberside this is at Firearms Licensing Officer, Tower Grange Police Station,
Holderness Road, Hull, HU8 9HP, telephone number 01482 597482) will normally
get a form posted to you. Alternatively you can download one here
together with the required Referee Form (you'll need 2 x Referee Forms):
Alternatively you can download one here together with the required Referee Form (you'll need 2 x Referee Forms):
The form itself is pale
blue and comes in an A3 sized folded sheet together with 2 'referee' forms
(Form 125) in single A4 size. The form should be completed and sent or taken to
the Police Firearms Licensing Department and must be accompanied by 4 identical
current photographs of the applicant (passport size), one of which must be
signed on the back in ink by the applicant. Each of your 2 referees must also
sign and date a separate photograph using the words "I CERTIFY THAT THIS
IS A CURRENT TRUE LIKENESS OF ….." with your name inserted.
You are not entitled to withhold information about any offence you may have committed. This includes motoring offences, convictions in places outside the UK and (by virtue of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order1975) convictions which are 'spent' under the 1974 Act. A conditional discharge and an absolute discharge count as convictions for this purpose.
The police must be
satisfied that you are a fit person to be entrusted with firearms without
danger to public safety or to the peace. The police will take into account
whether there is any known history of alcohol, drug or medication abuse, violent
of unsociable behavior or mental or psychiatric
disorder. Your referees will be asked to indicate any such occurrences and
mention anything which gives them cause for concern about your suitability to
If you are applying for
the grant of a FAC you must provide the names and addresses of 2 referees both
of whom must have known you personally for at least 2 years. Referees must be
of good character and members of your immediate family, police
officers/employees, registered firearms dealers or non-UK residents may not act
as referees. No payment may be made for references. (Registered firearms
dealers may act as a referee in the case of a renewal of a FAC where the
dealer is an official of the target club).
Forms 125 must be
completed with the factual details required by the forms and should be passed
on to your referees.
Applications for renewal
of a FAC must also be accompanied by 2 references and one of the referees in
such cases must be an official of the approved club named on your FAC.
You can apply at any time to vary your FAC if you want to add a new gun or have a gun you have sold or transferred taken off to regain a 'slot 'for a replacement. One-for-one variations are usually free but there is a charge if you want to add an extra gun(s).
The application must be
accompanied by a cheque for the appropriate fee
If you also want to
possess shotguns for clay shooting or game/rough shooting You
may apply for a coterminous FAC and SGC in which case the joint fees are
reduced if both applications are dealt with at the same time. (Multi-shot
shotguns used in Practical Shotgun disciplines must be included on a FAC). If
you already have a shotgun then the police may try and persuade you to go for a
coterminous certificate. Depending on how long your shotgun certificate has to
run, this may be an economical option anyway.
The Police will
undoubtedly require you to keep guns and ammunition in a British Standard 'Kitemarked' gun safe(s) or in a properly constructed gun
room. Home made cabinets may be acceptable but you
should seek police advice as to construction requirements. Humberside police
expect you to have a British Standard alarm system if you wish to hold more
than 9 guns. An alarm is not however a legal requirement. The gun safe must be
securely rawl-bolted to a solid wall of the house and
not be in a position which is readily visible to casual view. Inside a
wardrobe, concealed under the stairs or in a loft are good places. Ammunition
must be kept in a separate lockable metal box, again securely fixed to a wall.
Some cabinets have a separate, lockable section for ammunition. 14g steel
is usual in BS approved safes and external 'piano' type hinges are frowned upon
as they are thought to be susceptible to attack - though I think stout piano
hinges with multiple weld points would hold out against attack by a thief for
quite a while.
14g steel is usual in BS approved safes and external 'piano' type hinges are frowned upon as they are thought to be susceptible to attack - though I think stout piano hinges with multiple weld points would hold out against attack by a thief for quite a while.
One thing you absolutely
must not do is tell the Police that anyone other than yourself has keys to
your safe (unless others in your house have FACs for all of the guns
kept inside. A recent case where a solicitor had told his 85 year old mother
where he kept a spare key for emergencies resulted in a revocation of his FAC
(which he'd held for many years) by the police which was upheld following an
One thing you absolutely must not do is tell the Police that anyone other than yourself has keys to your safe (unless others in your house have FACs for all of the guns kept inside. A recent case where a solicitor had told his 85 year old mother where he kept a spare key for emergencies resulted in a revocation of his FAC (which he'd held for many years) by the police which was upheld following an appeal.
This is a link to the British Shooting Sports page regarding Home Office Guidance regarding the security of firearms. It makes good reading and will probably answer any queries you might have.
There is no legal limit to how many guns and ammunition you may apply for. However, the greater the quantity then the greater will be the necessity to justify your requests to the police. I usually advise new applicants to be realistic and put down what guns they are likely to buy in the 5 years duration of the FAC and quantities of ammunition which are economical to purchase but are reasonable.
For our Club, I usually advise applicants to put down a carbine rifle (i.e. one chambered for pistol ammunition such as .357 magnum, .44 magnum such as a Winchester or Marlin underlever), a .22 rifle (perhaps 2 as a semi-automatic may be required for 'action' disciplines and a bolt-action may be more appropriate for precision target shooting) a muzzle-loading pistol and muzzle-loading revolver. We can also shoot large calibre centre-fire rifles at our affiliated club (Killingholme Full Bore Club) and it would therefore be in order to put down for a .303, 7.62mm, or .270 rifle etc.
You will have to enter the quantity of ammunition you wish to hold and also the quantity you wish to purchase at any one time. You could, for example, put down 1,200 .22s to 'hold' and 1000 to 'buy' (discounts are not likely to be offered on quantities under 1000 and some dealers may look for purchases of 5000 before reducing their prices!). For centrefire ammunition I usually ask for 800 to hold and 500 to buy.
Black powder can only be bought and stored if you have an Explosives Certificate and a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) "Recipient Competent Authority Transfer Document" (these are free at present but must be applied for on forms obtainable from the police - Pyrodex (a black powder substitute) can be obtained without any certification. You may only store a maximum of 30 kilos of powder but as it is relatively expensive, doesn't have an indefinite shelf life and is potentially dangerous, this shouldn't worry you at all. It is worth bearing in mind however that the 30 Kg total would also include any powder in loaded rounds and/or shotgun cartridges and even in primers!
Storage of black powder is
best in a lockable wooden box and Humberside Police are happy for the box to be
portable so in the event of fire it could be taken outside. I feel it is
advisable that the box should be kept out of view and most certainly out of the
reach of children - which of course goes for all firearms and related equipment.
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