One of the most frequent questions the firearms team is asked relates to the firearm certificate renewal application process.

Members ask what to do when they have submitted their application in good time, but the police have not issued a renewed certificate. This leaves the member in illegal possession of their firearms. Here is a summary that might help you if you find yourself in this situation.

1. Contact your firearms licensing department and request the automatic certificate extension introduced by the Policing and Crime Act 2017. The extension only applies where an application is made to the police for the renewal of a certificate at least eight weeks before the certificate is due to expire, but the police have been unable to process the application before the certificate expires.

In such cases, the validity of the certificate is automatically extended for a period of eight weeks or until the police decide the application, whichever occurs first. The certificate’s terms and conditions will continue to apply during this period. When the renewal is subsequently granted, any period for which the certificate continued in force under the eight-week extension, will be treated as part of the period for which the renewed certificate is in force, meaning that the total renewal period of a renewed certificate would be five years.

Changes have been made to the National Firearms Licensing Management System (NFLMS) to support the administration of this provision and to facilitate police forces generating a confirmatory letter to applicants who benefit from an extension.

2. Police firearms licensing department should automatically issue a confirmation letter to applicants to prove the extension applies. You should keep this with your expired certificate. A tip here – don’t submit your expiring certificate with your renewal application – it is not necessary.

3. Some forces choose not to issue the automatic extension letter. If you do not receive such a letter in the week running up to expiry of your certificate, you should request one from your firearms licensing department. Do not accept any reassurances that ‘’your certificate has been renewed on the system therefore you are covered”.

4. If the application for renewal is still not processed before the extended certificate period expires, police forces should issue a temporary permit to you under section 7 of the Firearms Act 1968. This will authorise your continued possession and use of your firearms and ammunition.

Top tips

  • Make sure you submit your application at least eight weeks before expiry.
  • Do not submit your existing certificate with the application.
  • In the week leading up to expiry, if you have not received your renewed certificate, contact your firearms licensing department and request the automatic extension.
  • If the extended certificate period is about to expire and your certificate has still not been renewed, contact your firearms licensing department and request a temporary permit.

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