Frequently asked questions | Suffolk Constabulary

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Frequently asked questions

Below are the answers to some common questions regarding firearms safety:

Is there any legal requirement to keep my firearms secure?

The 1998 Firearms Rules prescribe safe keeping conditions to appear on firearm and shotgun certificates.

Under these conditions the certificate holder must take reasonable precautions for the safe custody of the firearms or ammunition in order to prevent unauthorised access.

What does unauthorised access mean?

Generally, anyone who doesn’t have the appropriate certificate is an unauthorised person. This includes possession by family members, as well as access gained by criminal entry to the premises.

Therefore, any keys to any security device should be kept secure, with access limited to authorised persons. This is especially important if children are in the house.

Where should I keep my guns?

Under most circumstances, it is preferable that firearms should be kept in a locked gun cabinet, which is secured within the occupied structure of a dwelling.

How about my garage?

Garages are not normally acceptable and should not be used unless the levels of security warrant it. It should be considered as an option after reviewing all other locations within the inhabited part of the premises.

I live in a modern house - can I bolt my gun cabinet to the wall?

In some modern houses, thermal block is used for the inner skin of main walls. This does not provide a substantial anchorage point for security devices.  Often, a more solid wall can be found dividing areas such integral garages from living areas for example.

Can I use a gun cabinet which is not British Standard approved?

You can, as long as your cabinet provides at least the equivalent level of security of a British Standard Cabinet.

Do I need to have my security in place before the Firearms Enquiry Officers visit?

No, it is often better to wait as the Firearms Enquiry Officers will be able to advise you on the options, such as the best place to locate your cabinet.

What about transporting guns in my car?

If the vehicle is to be left unattended for any reason, firearms should be removed.

Where it is unavoidable to leave a firearm in a vehicle for a short period of time:

  • the firearm must be out of sight
  • the vehicle must be locked
  • any immobiliser or alarm must be set
  • if possible the vehicle left within sight of the responsible person
  • where practicable, an essential part of the firearm, such as the bolt or the fore-end, should be removed and kept in the possession of the responsible person
  • where possible any ammunition should be stored separately from the firearm and this too should be concealed from view.

If firearms are regularly carried in a vehicle, provision should be made for securing the firearms to the vehicle’s structure. For example, security cases, cage, cable or clamp.

When firearms and ammunition are to be carried on a journey which involves them being kept away from their usual secure storage, the responsible person should ensure as far as reasonably practicable that they are secure.

Common questions regarding applications:

Where do I send my application and fee?

Applications for the grant of firearm and shotgun certificates, and firearm variations should be sent to:

Firearms Licensing Unit
Suffolk Constabulary
Portal Avenue
Martlesham
Ipswich
IP5 3QS

Who can I contact?

If you do not find the answer to your question, please contact us:

Tel: 01473 613681 (Mon to Fri 0830 - 1630)

Email: [email protected]