Applying for a Shotgun Certificate

Compared with the  Section 1 Firearms Certificate(FAC) the Section 2 Shotgun Certificate(SGC) is relatively easy to obtain. Unlike a FAC you do not have to provide “good reason” to apply for a shotgun certificate. In fact it is up to the police to find a reason to refuse you.

To apply for a SGC you will first need an application form.

Firearms Form 103 – SGC Application Form

When applying for a certificate you will need to obtain a reference from someone who has known you personally for at least  two years. This counter signatory will have to fill in the attached section on the application form. In official wording this person must be  “a Member of Parliament, Justice of the Peace, minister of religion, doctor, lawyer, established civil servant, bank officer, or person of similar standing.” A serving police officer, police worker or registered firearms dealer cannot countersign an application. When it comes to actual interpretation most police forces will accept any law-abiding person as a referee.

You will also need 4 passport sized photographs one of which must be signed by your chosen referee.

Once you have filled out the form and attached all the necessary documents you should then return it to the police along with the current fee of £50.

You should be contacted soon after by your local Firearms Enquiry  Officer who will arrange to come out for a visit. When asked why you want to obtain a shotgun all you need to say is so you can participate in shooting sports. This should be all the justification you need.

Some Forces will recommend you already have your safe storage in place for this visit however others will recommend you wait until you have received your first interview and if your application will be processed. If they decide to go ahead they will arrange a second visit to check your storage facilities. This is usually only in the case of first time applicants and it is to save  the wasted expense of purchasing a new safe only to be refused.

Storage facilities.

The safe storage for your shotgun should conform to British Standard: BS7558:1992. You do not have to purchase one from a safe manufacturer, there are many available second-hand or you can even build your own as long is it meets these standards.

The container should be bolted securely to a wall or to the floor of your home.

In the case of shotguns ammunition does not need to be stored in a separate lockable container, however it may be recommended you purchase a safe with such a compartment in case you wish to obtain a FAC in the future as section 1 ammunition does need to be stored separately.

After you have sent in your application, been interviewed and had your storage checked it should only be a matter of days before you receive your new certificate in the post. Happy shooting!

Additional Information.

Unlike the FAC you do not need to apply for a variation to purchase additional shotguns and you can freely purchase as many as your safe is rated to hold. The chief constable of your area must be informed of each transaction however.

A fellow SGC holder may borrow a shotgun for up to 72 hours before having to enter it on his certificate.

It is the view of Firearms UK that the SGC process is fairly straight forward and pretty reasonable given the current attitudes towards shooting and that the section 2 system could work just as well for every type of firearm striking the right balance between peoples freedom to enjoy shooting and concerns for public safety.  The one thing we would like to see changed is the need for a referee as we believe that this is a throwback to the days of the “class system” and should no longer be required in the 21st century.


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