A basic guide to the application process
If you want a firearms certificate you need to prove you have a good reason. You can't just apply on the off chance that you may, one day, want to own a rifle. A good reason could be fox or vermin control, stalking, or being a member of a rifle club. Owning a big garden or having a one acre paddock isn't a good reason I'm afraid. Either way, you've got to be able to prove your need to the the police.
The police will ask you for evidence of this only when they visit you, and once your application form has been approved.
So, before all that you've got to complete the application form. Your local force will deal with your application, and it's them you should contact to get the application form. You could go down to the nearest police station, who should be able to help. You can find quite a lot of information online. Go to: www.police.uk/forces.htm to find the website of your police force.
Hopefully though most of your questions will be answered here!
The Application Form
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Once you've got the form, you've got to fill it in. Use BLOCK capitals, and write clearly. It sounds obvious, but it's really easy to forget, and then you've got to start again. The other thing to remember is to put as much information as possible down. If in doubt, more is better than less. You must be completely honest, and if you leave something off as you don't think it's necessary, it might look like you have something to hide.
This part's pretty straightforward, just fill in personal details like your name and address. If you are lucky enough to have more than one address, use the one that bank statements go to, or you are registered to vote at.
Question 14 asks if you have been convicted of any offences. It's very important here that you put everything and anything, as the police will check. This includes Road Traffic offences, like speeding. If you follow the basic principle of putting down everything you can think of, you shouldn't go wrong.
The same applies for your medical history in question 15a. If you regularly take medicine for something, then this must be declared, even if it's hay fever or asthma. If you have any minor learning disability, like dyslexia, put it down.
Remember to sign the bottom of the first page giving the police permission to contact your GP, otherwise the application will automatically be rejected.
If you're applying for a new certificate, and not had one before, you shouldn't have any rifles in your possession. If you do, you've been breaking the law, and need to contact the police immediately! The same applies for ammunition.
Question 19 is important. If you've got a good reason to have a rifle, you may well already have a gun in mind that you want. This question is really the first stage of proving you have a good reason. You should know the type of gun you need, so put that down, as well as the reason and where you are going to use it. The police will know the most suitable gun for what you want to it for. If you put down that you want to buy a gun that could kill a red stag, and you've said you want it to shoot rabbits, the police will be suspicious, and turn down the application. Do your research, and be honest. If you don't know enough, your local gun shop will, so just go and ask them for advice. Or cantact BASC.
You may want to store a gun with someone else, so you would give the details of whoever stores it for you. The police will want to check this address as well. Otherwise, tick the box for 22a.
22b does not have to be ticked, though most people would normally. It is possible that you have some other arrangement, and only the police will be able to tell you if it's ok.
This part is only for people who have already held a firearms certificate.
You need 2 referees and must put the details of both. Remember to get them both to sign one of the passport photos, so the police can make sure it's you. They must have known you well for at least two years, and can't be a relative. Plus they have got to be checkable, like a doctor or solicitor. You can't just pull any punter off the street when you suddenly realise you forgot to do it!
This is the last and easiest part, but don't forget it! Sign AND date!
Then you have to sit back and wait for the police to process it, and hopefully approve it. At some point the police will contact you, at which point you'll arrange a time for them to come and visit and have a chat. They will want to check what you wrote on the application is true. They'll also want to see where you'll store the gun. You will probably be asked questions about what you intend to use it for, and where, and may need to provide proof. Be prepared!
Hopefully you will then have your application fully approved, so you can get out there and enjoy sporting shooting.
This is a only guide so if you have any doubts, contact BASC or your local police station.