COVID-19 Update – 15/12/2021
Cumbria Firearms Licensing Unit continues working hard to process all firearms and explosives applications amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the review of government guidance in relation to the Omicron variant of Coronavirus, we will not be conducting home visits in order to protect our staff and the public.
We will use other methods to contact you such as video-messaging or telephone, we anticipate that, due to the restrictions placed on us, the processing of renewal applications or variations may take longer than usual.
We are also aware General Practitioners are being advised to deprioritise providing medical information for Firearms Licensing for the next four weeks while continuation of the vaccine roll-out is at a critical stage. If you are applying for the renewal of a firearm and/or shotgun certificate please be mindful the completion of your medical pro-forma, by your General Practitioner may be delayed.
However, the process renewal process remains the same, in that, renewal applications must be submitted with the completed medical pro-forma, they must not be separately.
With immediate effect and until further notice, we will not be accepting grant applications as home visits are considered to be a vital part of the process to maintain public safety. However;
- If you have already applied for a grant but have not yet been visited, we will hold your application until such time as we are able to visit.
- If you have been visited, processing of your grant application will continue.
To assist us, we would be grateful if you could avoid telephoning the office or enquiry officers unless the matter is urgent. Please use the email address email@example.com for any enquiries.
Please keep checking our webpage at https://www.cumbria.police.uk/apply-for-it/firearms/firearms-news for further updates.
National Data Breach on Guntrader UK - 23/07/21
Cumbria Constabulary has been made aware of a national data breach on the GunTrader UK website which released personal data including names, telephone numbers, home and email addresses online.
GunTrader UK is already in the process of contacting and advising those affected.
The data breach is being investigated by the National Crime Agency and our advice at this time is to change the password on your account and other accounts if you have used the same password.
In addition, you should review the physical security of your firearms, ensuring that your house or premises are secure and be vigilant. Please report any suspicious activity to police in the usual way on-line or via 101 and you should only contact police on 999 should you have any concerns for your immediate safety.
Changes to the Law on Antique Firearms – 12/03/2021
The law on antique firearms is changing. From 22 March 2021 some firearms previously regarded as antique, and therefore exempt from control, no longer qualify as such and must now be licensed. Owners of these firearms must act by 23:59 on 21 September 2021 to licence them or lawfully dispose of them.
Section 58 of the Firearms Act 1968 and the Antique Firearms Regulations 2021 set out in law which firearms can be regarded as antique, and therefore exempt from licensing. The definition closely follows the model used previously in Home Office guidance and will therefore be familiar to collectors, dealers and museums. To be regarded as an antique, a firearm must:
- have been manufactured before 1 September 1939, and
- either have a propulsion system of a type specified in the 2021 Regulations (for example, muzzle loaders, pin-fire or needle-fire) or the chamber(s) are those that the firearm had when it was manufactured (or a replacement that is identical in all material respects) and it is chambered for use with a cartridge specified in the 2021 Regulations, and
- be sold, transferred, purchased, acquired or possessed as a curiosity or ornament.
Following their use in crime, seven cartridges which previously appeared in the Home Office obsolete cartridge list have been omitted from the equivalent list in the 2021 Regulations. These cartridges are:
- 320 British (also known as .320 Revolver CF, short or long)
- 41 Colt (short or long)
- 44 Smith and Wesson Russian
- 442 Revolver (also known as .44 Webley)
- 9.4mm Dutch Revolver
- 10.6mm German Ordnance Revolver
- 11mm French Ordnance Revolver M1873 (Army)
This means that from 22 March 2021 all firearms chambered for use with the above cartridges will become subject to the controls in the 1968 Act, including licensing. However, there will be a transition period of six months from 22 March until 23:59 on 21 September 2021 during which owners of such firearms can decide what they wish to do with them.
Further details about the changes to the law are set out in a Home Office circular: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/circular-0012021-antique-firearms
Firearms Security Handbook 2020 – 11/03/2021
For anyone who possesses firearms or shotguns or is considering applying for a certificate, the above new handbook on security is a vital guide to firearm security in general. It provides guidance on cabinet construction, gun rooms and other security matters for certificate holders, registered firearms dealers and other professionals involved with firearms.
The handbook also provides guidance on the location of cabinets and their installation, integral garage security, dealers with Section 5 authority as well as Section 7(1) and Section 7 (3) firearms. The handbook can be viewed or down loaded from here.
Offensive Weapons Act 2019 – Compensation Scheme – 10/03/2021
The above compensation scheme ended on 09/03/2021. The processing of claims by the Home Office was efficient and those who surrendered guns, ammunition and ancillaries were swiftly compensated.
Any person who holds a firearm, described either as a lever release or MARS rifle, liable for compensation under the scheme would now be considered to be in illegal possession of a firearm under the Firearms Act (As Amended) 1968 S5 (1) (ag) which prohibits the possession of such weapons. If you possess such a weapon, please contact the Firearms Licensing Department as soon as possible to arrange for it to be surrendered.
Deactivated Firearms - 17/12/2019
Legislation is changing to introduce a requirement to notify the Home Office of the transfer of deactivated firearms with effect 12/12/2019. After this date, it will be an offence to transfer a deactivated firearm without notification.
If you have taken possession of a deactivated firearm on or since 14 September 2018, you will also be required to inform the Home Office. If you took possession before that date, you will not be required to inform the Home Office until 14 March 2021. Please see links below for forms and other information;
Firearms Security - 17/12/2019
With effect 12/12/2019, where a certificate holder is under 18, arrangements must be in place so that either the holder’s parent or guardian, or a person aged 18 years or over, with the correct certificate/authorisations, assumes responsibility for the secure storage of firearms/ammunition and shotguns. Please see the link to the legislation below;
Registered Firearms Dealers – Registers - 17/12/2019
An amendment has been made to the Firearms Rules requiring a change in the information to be recorded in registers regarding guns held by a Registered Firearms Dealer. Please see the requirements on the link to the legislation below;
Firearms and Travelling to the Republic of Ireland following a No-Deal Brexit - 15/10/2019
In the event that the United Kingdom leaves the European Union on 31st October without a ratified withdrawal agreement, there will be some implications in relation to the Republic of Ireland and licenced firearms. Further information and links to application forms are available on the website of the Republic of Ireland Department of Justice and Equality here.
General Licences for Wild Birds - 12/09/2019
The Department for Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has recently launched a user survey aimed at gathering views and evidence from people affected by the use of general licences for control of certain species of wild birds, in specific circumstances.
Further information on the use of general licences can be found here.
The survey can be found here.
Offensive Weapons Act 2019 - 20/05/2019
We have been notified by the Home Office that the above act was passed on 16 May 2019 and is applicable to firearms with actions know as "Manually-Actuated Release System (MARS)" and "Lever Release".
The prohibitions, with effect 16 May 2019, prohibit the manufacture, sale, transfer or acquisition of such weapons. The prohibition on possession will come into force at a later date, following the completion of the surrender and compensation arrangements (see below).
The 2019 act adds two new subsections to section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968. For certain rapid-firing rifles there is a new subsection 5(1)(ag) which prohibits:
- Any rifle with a chamber from which empty cartridge cases are extracted using -
- Energy from a propellant gas, or
- Energy imparted to a spring or other energy storage device by propellant gas,
- Other than a rifle which is chambered for .22 rim-fire cartridges
For "Bump Stocks" there is a new subsection 5(1)(ba) which prohibits:
- Any device (commonly known as a bump stock) which is designed or adapted so that -
- It is capable of forming part of or being added to a self-loading lethal barrelled weapon (as defined in section 57(1b) and (2a)
- If it forms part of or is added to such weapon, it increases the rate of fire of the weapon by using the recoil from the weapon to generate repeated pressure on the trigger
Compensation and Surrender Arrangements
Section 56 to 59 of the 2019 Act sets out the surrender and compensation arrangements which must be followed before the prohibition on the possession of the above weapons can come into force. The arrangements are subject to secondary legislation before they can come into force.
Details on the arrangements for applying for compensation will be published in due course. These details will include who can apply for compensation, how they can apply, timescales for applications, what information owners need to supply to evidence ownership and surrender arrangements.
We will update our webpage accordingly when we have further information.
Licences for the Killing of Wild Birds - Update - 17/05/2019
As you may be aware, Natural England has now re-issued general licences for the killing of certain bird species for specific purposes. These include Carrion Crow to prevent serious damage to livestock, Wood Pigeon to prevent serious damage to crops and Canada Geese for public health and safety.
You are encouraged to read these licences to ensure that you are covered by them. The killing of other species and for other purposes may require you to apply for an individual licence.
Please refer to the Natural England Website for the latest information. The website can be found here.