There is a greater number of delays within firearms licensing today. BASC’s firearms team explains what to do if your renewal is delayed.
Early submission of renewal requests next year will give police licensing teams a better chance to turn them around before certificates expire. Respond as soon as possible to a renewal reminder pack or, even better, prepare and submit your request early. You can download the forms here, complete them, sort out counter-signatory/referees, add photos and payment and get ready to submit them in plenty of time. Always post by recorded delivery. These can usually be tracked online.
To help the police renew your certificates in time we recommend that you get your renewal applications to them at least 12 weeks before the expiry of your certificate. Do not wait for police reminder letters.
When sending renewal forms back, do not return your expiring certificates. You need them to both buy ammunition and to prove lawful possession of your guns. The law allows police to seize your firearms if you are unable to produce a certificate on demand. It is always advisable to carry original certificates with you. Although the evidence of a copy should be acceptable in many instances, the legal right to seize and detain your guns remains unless you produce the original.
However, it may help the licensing department to process renewals or variations if you provide photocopies of existing certificates. Add a note with your application saying that you are retaining the originals until the new ones are issued.
The law (The Firearms Amendment Rules 2014) does not require you to return the expiring certificates with your application. In the case of shotguns the rules state that renewal applications should be accompanied by the expiring certificate “if it is available”. The need to buy ammunition and to show lawful possession means that the expiring certificate is not available. If you need advice on this or any other issue, please call BASC’s firearms team on 01244 573010 with your membership number to hand.
It is an offence for anyone to be in possession of a firearm without the appropriate authority. Any advice that it is acceptable to continue keeping your guns without a valid certificate should be ignored, even if your renewal has been submitted.
If your certificate should expire before a valid replacement is in your possession, you should ask for a temporary permit, issued under Section 7 of the Firearms Act 1968. It should be granted in the event of an administrative delay.
The Home Office guidance to the police: ‘Guide to Firearms Licensing Law‘ directs that a permit should be issued where an applicant has submitted an application in good time. Issuing a Section 7 is a simple remedy to prevent someone falling on the wrong side of the law.