Frequently asked questions | Suffolk Constabulary

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Frequently asked questions

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

If you cannot find the answer to you query or you need further assistance please contact us.

How long will my application take?

New Grant Applications

Currently on average grant applications are taking around 66 days to complete.  Please note there are a number of checks and enquiries to make and some applications will take longer than others.

Renewal Applications

The certificate renewal process takes time and is resources intensive with demand very high.   We endeavour to process renewal applications prior to the expiry of the certificate but for a number of reasons this is not always possible.  Currently on average we are renewing 64% of certificates prior to expiry.

My certificate is about to expire and I have guns in my possession

If you made you renewal application in good time, at least 8 weeks before the expiry of your certificate, we will either renew your certificate before expiry or send you a formal letter extending your current certificate for a further 8-week period. You may retain possession of your guns.

If you have not applied for renewal or your renewal application has been made late (within 8 weeks of expiry) and your certificate has or is about to expire you must transfer possession of any licensed firearms or shotguns to an appropriately authorised registered firearms dealer or certificate holder. Unfortunately, the certificate renewal process takes time and is resources intensive with demand very high. We do endeavour to process renewal applications prior to the expiry of the certificate but for a number of reasons this is not always possible.

How much does it cost?

Firearms certificates (Valid for five years)

  • Grant of firearm certificate: £88.00
  • Renewal of firearm certificate: £62.00
  • Variation of a firearm certificate (other than when it is renewed at the same time) to increase the number of firearms to which the certificate relates: £20
  • Replacement of a firearm certificate lost or destroyed: £4.00
  • Grant of both firearms and shotgun certificates (co-term) £90
  • Renewal of both firearm and shotgun certificates (co-term) £65  

Shot gun certificates (Valid for five years)

  • Grant of shot gun certificate: £79.50
  • Renewal of shot gun certificate £49.00
  • Replacement of shot gun certificate lost or destroyed: £4.00

Firearms dealers certificate (Valid for three years)

  • Grant and renewal of firearms dealers certificate: £200
  • Grant of a certificate of registration at additional place of business outside area where originally registered, including game fairs and exhibitions: £13

Overseas visitors permits (Normally issued for duration of visit)

  • Firearm visitors permit: £20.00
  • Shotgun visitors permit: £20.00
  • Firearm visitors permit where 5 to 20 visitors are travelling as a group: £100
  • Shotgun visitors permit where 5 to 20 visitors are travelling as a group: £100

Do I need to pay my GP for a medical report?

Any request for a fee by your GP is matter between you and your GP.  For further information on the requirement for medical information refer to the application form guidance notes.

What do I do if a certificate holder has died?

Please contact us and we will be able to assist you .

I have lost my certificate, what do I do?

Please have a really good look for your certificate first, if you still cannot find it you will need to write to us setting out the circumstance of the loss and including a cheque for £4 in respect of the replacement certificate fee.  If you have lost both a firearm & shotgun certificate you will need to pay £4 for each certificate. On receipt of your letter we will cancel your old certificate and issue a replacement certificate.  Unfortunately, we cannot take payment to replace lost certificates online at this time.

What do I need to do if I buy/acquire or sell or transfer a firearm or shotgun.

In all cases of, selling/transferring & buying/acquiring, you must notify in writing the details to the police force who issued your certificate of the sale/transfer or purchase/acquisition. You can do this by completing the following form Microsoft Office document icon f281wt_-_weapon_transfer.doc.

Selling/transferring a gun – you must always follow the instructions printed upon your certificate. If you are transferring your gun to a someone other than a registered firearms dealer you must see that person’s original firearm or shotgun certificate as appropriate and record the details of the transfer on their certificate in accordance with the certificate instructions.   

I have moved, what do I need to do?

As soon as you are in your new address please complete the following form to notify your change of address.  

Online payment Instructions

A step-by-step guide on how to use our online payment system can be found here.

Who can I contact?

Please contact us and we will be able to assist you .

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.