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The Firearms Licensing Unit welcomes enquiries regarding applications, legislation etc. If you have a query for which you cannot find an answer in these pages, please contact us via email at firearmslicensing@cumbria.police.uk.

How old do I have to be to get a certificate?
You can apply for a shotgun certificate at any age and a firearms certificate from the age of 14 but your parent/guardian will also have to sign the form. For all age limits, see Appendix 4 to the Guide to Firearms Licensing Law 2021.

How long do I have to report the purchase or sale of a gun
You have seven days to report the purchase or sale of a gun to the Chief Officer of Police who issued your certificate. This will often be a Form 11 which a dealer may give to you – you can send a copy by post or scan it in and attach to an email. Note photographs of Form 11s or other notifications of sale will not be accepted.

When should I inform you that I have moved house?
Condition 3 of your certificate requires you to inform the Firearms Licensing Unit if you have changed your address once you have actually moved. This applies even if you do not change the location where your firearms and shotguns are stored.

How old must I be to buy a gun?
Without exception you must be 18 years or over to purchase a gun (including an air weapon) or ammunition. However, in some cases, you can be given a gun at a younger age. For all age limits, see Appendix 4 to the Guide to Firearms Licensing Law 2021.

What is “good reason”?
On a firearms certificate, you must have “good reason” to possess each of the firearms on the certificate. “Good Reason” is extremely complicated and each case is judged on its own merits - detailed guidance is available in Chapter 13 of the Guide to Firearms Licensing Law 2021.

What sort of photograph do I need for my application?
Please see the notes attached to the application form for the detailed requirements.

What happens if I cannot remember the details of a past conviction?
Include as much detail as possible on the application form. You may also apply for a Subject Access request through the ACRO Criminal Records Office website at www.acro.police.uk/Subject-access. As part of the firearms application process, you will be the subject of a full background check.

Should I include speeding offences on the application form?
All offences, however minor, should be included on the form, including those that have resulted in a warning or caution.

What will happen once I submit my application form?
Initially, your form will be processed and a series of background checks carried out. You will then be contacted by one of our enquiry officers to arrange a video interview, if possible, or a physical visit if necessary. Once the enquiry officer’s report has been submitted, your application will be considered and, if successful, certificate or certificates issued. Please note that a home visit will be required for all grant applications.

How long does the grant process take?
Grants usually take longer to process than a renewal due to the extra work involved. However, in most cases should take around 12 weeks as long as we do not require further information and as work volumes allow.

Why does my GP have to know that I am applying for the grant or renewal of a certificate?
Suitability to hold a certificate is partly judged on the declarable medical conditions. As of 01/11/2021, you are required to submit the medical proforma completed by your GP along with your grant or renewal application. In addition, we ask your GP to place a marker on your medical record so that if any relevant issues arise in the future, it is clear that you are a certificate holder and that we may need to be informed of the issue.

Do I need to be resident in Cumbria to apply?
If you are resident in the county and pay council tax to a district council in Cumbria, then we are your relevant authority.

I am a UK national but live abroad for a large part of the year. Can I still apply? 
This depends on how long in each year you are abroad and we would be reluctant to issue a certificate to someone who is out of the country extensively. In addition, you would need criminal background checks from the other countries in which you have lived.

How do I notify a change of address?
You can notify us by letter or email as soon as you have moved; however, we would ask that you send in your old certificate as soon as possible. If you have moved your guns to your new address, a security check will need to be carried out and one of our enquiry officers will be in touch. If you have a different security address and it has not changed, there is no need for a security check. We will post the amended certificate(s) to you.

Can I make an online or card payment for the fee?
Yes, you can make an online payment direct from your bank account. Please go to the Fees section for details. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept card payments at this time.

I have bought a new gun and need to update my certificate. How do I go about it?
You must, by law, inform us that you have acquired a gun within seven days and you can do this by letter or email. You must give your details; the details of the gun, including type, make, calibre/bore, type of action and serial number and the details of the person or dealer you have bought it from. Whoever you acquired the gun from should in the case of a Section 1 firearm, endorse Table 1 of your firearms certificate of, if a shotgun, Table 2 of your shotgun certificate.

I am a foreign national but I live and work in the United Kingdom, can I apply for a certificate?
Yes, you can - anyone resident in the UK and registered with a GP in the UK can apply. Depending on how long you have been in this country, we may need to do criminal record checks in your country of birth or any other country where you have lived.

I need a Visitors’ Permit for a friend from abroad who is coming to this country to shoot
Please download the form from the Forms section and, once completed, forward it to the Firearms Licensing Unit with the appropriate fee, allowing at least six weeks before the expected date of travel to the UK. Please note that you will have certain responsibilities for the visitor – See Chapter 13, Guide on Firearms Licensing Law 2021.

Can my husband/wife be a referee for my application?
No, 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. The referee(s) who have agreed to act for you must have known you personally for at least two years, must be resident in Great Britain and must be of good character and any references they agree to provide must be given freely and not on payment.

What is meant by a Section 1 or Section 2 weapon?
A Section 1 weapon is a weapon to which Section 1 of the Firearms Act 1968 applies, normally rifles and long-barrel revolvers/pistols. Section 2 weapons are covered by Section 2 of the Act and are normally smooth-bore guns such as shotguns.

What is a Section 5 weapon?
These are weapons to which Section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968 apply and are deemed to be prohibited in most cases. This normally includes such weapons as short-barrel pistols, tasers and machine-guns among others.

I have an old gun that I want to get rid of. Can I just cut it up?
The destruction of firearms is a particular process and you may unwittingly not put the gun beyond use. You can surrender the gun for destruction at one of the main police stations in the county where you will be given a receipt for it (the green copy of a Form 22) which you should keep. Please also inform the Firearms Licensing Unit in the usual way by letter or email.

I have found some old ammunition in the barn I am converting, can I just throw it out?
No, however, if it is a small amount and it is in fairly good condition, please take it to one of the main police stations in the county where you will be given a receipt for it (the green copy of a Firearms Form 22) which you should keep. If the ammunition is decayed or there is a large amount, please call 101 to report it and arrangements could be made to collect. If the ammunition is particularly large, such as a rocket, hand grenade or mortar bomb, evacuate the area and call 999 as it might be dangerous and will need to be dealt with by Explosives Ordnance Disposal.

Why has my application been returned to me?
The main reason for the return of an application is that the form, which is a legal document, has not been fully completed. Every section, where applicable, must be fully completed and you must ensure that it is dated and signed on pages 2 and 8. If other required documents such as a photograph or medical proforma do not accompany the application, it will also be returned to you.

Can I just shoot over any land if given permission by the landowner?
A firearm certificate holder with “restricted” conditions of use can only shoot over “land deemed suitable by the chief officer of police” and for which they have lawful authority. The Firearms Licensing Unit will, upon receipt of details of additional permissions, advise holders if an area of land is suitable to be shot over. You should not shoot over the land until this has been confirmed.

The permission should include the name, address and telephone number of the land owner, specify the firearms which may be used and the quarry to be taken. Please ensure the land owner/authoriser will be available to verify the permission.

The holder of a certificate with “open” conditions of use, “land over which the holder has lawful authority to shoot”, need only ensure they have permission from the landowner and the land is suitable for their type and calibre of firearm. It is your responsibility to ensure it is safe.

Do I need to inform anyone if I am going lamping?
To assist Cumbria Constabulary, it would be appreciated if prior to shooting you could either call 101 or email 101emails@cumbria.police.uk and provide the following information:

  • Your name
  • Details of vehicles being used.
  • Name and location of land.
  • Expected start and finish times.

What happens if my application is late?
Your application should arrive at the Firearms Licensing Unit before the expiry date. However, if this does not happen, for whatever reason, you should arrange for your guns to be lodged with another suitable certificate holder (for firearms, this means someone with an unused authority to acquire that calibre of gun) or a registered firearms dealer. Your application will be treated as a grant, attracting the higher grant fee and may be subject to additional background checks, possibly taking longer to process.