Staying within the law when buying a gun


GUN SHOP GUN RACK - Credit: Archant

How can I ensure I remain wihtin the law when buying a gun, especially with regards to online gun sales? Nick of MFG Solicitors replies

QWhat legal steps do I need to take when buying a gun?

NICK PLAYFORD replies: This is a question I am often asked, especially by those who are looking to get into organised shoots at weekends.

First and foremost, and quite rightly, you cannot just go out and buy a shotgun through eBay or other auction sites and make your purchase as the highest bidder. Rules and regulations prohibit the selling of weapons on such sites, although often you can buy replacement parts on them.

I am assuming in my answer that you already hold a valid shotgun certificate, as that is an obvious prerequisite. Do your research thoroughly in advance and, particularly with those with less experience, go through a genuine dealer who will have a professional approach and fully secure website.

As part of your research, learn more about the cost of a gun and the warranty on offer. Once you have decided, I always recommend feeling and holding the gun before you purchase it to verify that your chosen gun is suitable for you. A shotgun is a very personal object that will hopefully last for many years – so it is important you make the right purchase. Take a knowledgeable friend with you to give a second opinion and ascertain any warranties or guarantees that come with the gun. If these documents do exist, it is important to obtain them.

Ensure that the seller also holds a valid shotgun certificate and that the gun you are acquiring is listed correctly on his or her certificate. To move the purchase forward and buy the gun, you must show proof of your shotgun certificate to the seller, having already ensured that you have lined up somewhere safe to store the weapon at home and within a reputable wall-secured safe.

Once you have the gun, you must add it to your licence. The seller must complete tables one and two of your certificate, enter details of the shotgun transferred and you must inform the Chief of Police who issued your certificate within seven days of the transaction. The seller should also notify their own constabulary of the transfer. Thames Valley Police, and almost certainly others too, have an especially good notification checklist that should be signed off by both parties.

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Finally, and particularly if you have purchased a valuable gun, you should ensure that it is added to your home insurance.

To sum up, buying a gun is an important purchase and should not be taken lightly. The more planning you do the better.