Firearms Licensing Guidance

Firearms Licensing Guidance

The possession of firearms and ammunition in Great Britain is regulated mainly by the Firearms Act 1968. This page covers licensing guidance and good practice on firearms law, including arrangements for medical checks for firearms certificates.

The Home Office guide on firearms licensing law has been updated (November 2022). You should read it alongside the statutory guidance for chief officers of police

Firearms security: a brief guide is also available.


Apply for a shotgun certificate

You need a shotgun certificate issued by the police to possess, buy or acquire a shotgun. You must also have a certificate to buy ammunition.

Apply for a shotgun certificate


Medical information

From 1 April 2016, information sharing processes between GPs and police have been introduced to ensure that people licensed to possess firearm and shotgun certificates are medically fit. The Home Office guide on firearms licensing law contains a section on medical information, and the British Medical Association has issued guidance for GPs about firearms licencing. We would always advise that you contact your GP in the first instance to request a medical record check, (FM1).

It is the responsibility of the applicant to arrange for information on their medical suitability to be provided by their GP (or another suitably qualified doctor registered with the GMC) to the police firearms licensing department dealing with their application.

Where the doctor indicates that there are relevant medical issues and the police require further medical information to consider the application, the police may, at the chief officer’s discretion, contact the doctor directly to discuss the application or seek further clarification.


MedCert Discount for CPSA Members

With the introduction of the requirement for medical records checks by GP to the shotgun certificate process, some applicants have found that their GP refuses to participate, or that the GP charges an exorbitant rate for the service. GPs can refuse to engage in the firearms certification process on grounds of conscientious objection because of religious or ethical beliefs. They must inform the police.

MedCert was founded to provide a reliable alternative that puts shooters back in control of their application. For a fixed fee a MedCert doctor will conduct the necessary check of your records and make a response to the police within a guaranteed timeframe.

MedCert have recently launched a redesigned, easier to use website, and have agreed a 10% discount for CPSA members. By using the code available by logging in to the member's area here, CPSA members will receive a discount of 10%, reducing their current fee from £60 full price to £54.

Any queries or to get started visit


Monitoring patients with firearm certificates

There is no legal or contractual requirement for GPs to monitor or assess a patient who currently holds a firearm certificate, but they may encourage you to notify the police if they become aware that relevant aspects of a licence holder’s circumstances have changed that mean the police should review the firearms licence.

It is open to a GP to approach the police at any time in order to pass on information of possible concern about an individual.


Police contact details

You can get a firearm or shotgun certificate application form from the firearms licensing unit of your local police force.



1) Cost – A Shotgun Grant currently costs £79.50. Usually, you pay online during the application but you can pay by Cheque if you post your application.

2) Application Form – The preferred application process is online via the website for the Police County where you reside. You’ll need to fill in their Application for the grant or renewal of a Firearm and/or Shotgun Certificate form. When applying for just a shotgun certificate you do skip a few sections. Most Police forces will allow you to download an application form from their websites but do ring your local Firearms Licensing department if you’re having trouble finding it. Make sure you read the form in detail and make sure you understand everything, if you don’t, ask someone. Do not lie or hide anything on this form.

3) Referees – The Police will also ask for details of a suitable person who has known you for at least two years and has agreed to act as a referee for you – you only need one for a Shotgun Certificate.

4) Photos – Get yourself a digital passport-style photo which is no larger than 1MB in size and is a .jpg/.jpeg format.

5) GP Letter – You’ll need to also request a medical record check (FM1) from your local GP and submit this form alongside your application. You can post this or send it electronically but please add the Application Reference number you will receive when applying online. If this is part of your renewal process, please also add your existing certificate number to aid the FLO.

Make sure you provide the application, appropriate fee and medical check when you submit your application whether online or by post. We recommend sending by recorded delivery (minimum) if you are posting to your local Firearms Licensing.

Applications are known to take anywhere from 2 weeks to 9 months depending on your local force. It’s best speaking to your local Firearms Licensing to get an idea of turn around.

You should be contacted soon after applying by your local Firearms Enquiry Officer who will arrange to come out for a visit and interview.


Storing and transporting firearms and shotguns

For comprehensive information on storing and transporting firearms and shotguns, we recommend the UK Government’s Firearms security: a brief guide and Firearms security handbook.


Changes of address

If you hold a firearm, shotgun or explosives certificate and move to a new permanent address, you must notify the police as soon as possible. Use their online contact service and be sure to tell them:

  • your full name
  • your current certificate number
  • your old and new address
  • your plans for storing the firearms
  • any change in contact information or GP details if applicable


Further Information

Further information can be found on the BMA and GOV.UK websites.

If you have questions regarding the status of your shotgun license application, please contact the local police authority handling your application.

Visit our page HERE for information regarding applying for an extension to your existing license.


Further Guidance