Getting Your Firearms Certificate

Applying for a Firearms Certificate (FAC)


Who Can Apply?

Only full members of target shooting clubs or those with permission to shoot over land may apply for a FAC. If your sole use of firearms is for target shooting then you must remain a member of at least one target shooting club or the police will no longer consider that you have a legitimate reason for owning firearms and are likely to revoke your FAC.

The Application Form

Apply for a firearm certificate | Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary

Please read the notes page on the Hampshire website prior to an application.

The application is a "One Go" there is no option to save and go back to it later. You must have you range attendance records on file so they can be uploaded during the application process.

  • Locally you will have to ask you doctor or this information.
  • If your doctor is not willing to supply the information then you can apply to Welcome to MedCert
  • Please bear in mind that this information can take up to 6 months to complete.

You must disclose any relevant physical or mental health conditions that you have been diagnosed with or treated for in the past as this may affect your ability to safely possess and use a firearm or shotgun.

Sections 27 and 28 of the Firearms Act 1968 (as amended) specify that in order to issue a firearm or shotgun certificate the chief officer of police must be satisfied that an applicant can be permitted to possess a gun ‘without danger to the public safety or the peace’.

Medical fitness is one of the factors police must consider when assessing a person’s suitability.

Relevant medical conditions which must be disclosed are:

  • acute stress reaction or an acute reaction to the stress caused by a trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder
  • suicidal thoughts or self harm, or harm to others
  • depression or anxiety
  • dementia
  • mania, bipolar disorder, or a psychotic illness
  • a personality disorder
  • a neurological condition: for example, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s or Huntington’s diseases, or epilepsy
  • alcohol or drug abuse
  • any other mental or physical condition, or combination of conditions, which you think may be relevant

If in doubt, consult your GP or contact the police firearms licensing department.

It is your responsibility to arrange for your GP or another suitably qualified GMC-registered doctor* (including where a doctor is providing this service for a private company) to provide medical information to the police concerning your suitability to possess a firearm and/or shotgun.

[*A doctor with a full, specialist or GP (rather than provisional) GMC registration and a licence to practise.]

Please use the doctor's letter and medical information proforma to pass to the doctor for completion. You are expected to meet the cost if a fee is charged for this. When the medical information is being provided to the police by a doctor from a private company, the doctor must receive the applicant's medical information directly from the GP practice and not via the applicant.

With regards to data protection, it should be noted that the medical information will be processed on a public interest basis for the legitimate policing purpose of assessing the suitability of someone to be granted a firearm or shotgun certificate.

Medical practitioners have separately requested that an applicant's consent is provided in order for medical practitioners to be satisfied that they have discharged their obligations under their duty of confidentiality in relation to their patients. The application form requests the applicant's consent for the release of the information for that reason.

Where the doctor indicates that there are relevant medical issues and police require further medical information to consider the application, you should obtain a report about these medical issues. You are expected to meet the cost of a fee if it is charged. Following this, if police require an additional report to be provided they will meet the cost of the fee charged.

The police will ask your GP to place an encoded reminder on your patient record to indicate that you have been issued with a firearm or shotgun certificate. The GP is asked to notify the police if, following issue of the certificate, you are diagnosed with or treated for a relevant medical condition (listed above), or if the GP has other concerns about your possession of a certificate that might affect your safe possession of firearms.

Following contact from your GP there may be a need for a medical report to be obtained to assist with assessment of your continued suitability to possess a firearm or shotgun certificate. The police will pay if a medical report is required.

Following the issue of a firearm or shotgun certificate please note that the declaration you have signed consenting to information sharing between your GP and police applies during the application process and during the validity of any firearm or shotgun certificate, which may be up to five years.

You are expected to inform the police if, following issue of the certificate, you are diagnosed with or treated for a relevant medical condition while the certificate remains valid.

You should inform the police if you change your GP practice and provide contact details for the new practice.

You are asked to provide details of GP practices over the past 10 years and whether you have consulted medical practitioners other than at your GP practice so that all relevant information is available to police to assist with their assessment of suitability to possess a firearm certificate.

Military personnel who are posted abroad and have a service GP may still be regarded as resident in the UK for the purposes of the application.


A digital photograph must be used for online applications.

Photographs must be of a professional standard, against a plain cream or grey background and without other objects or people in the background.

The photograph must be a true likeness and full face without a head covering (unless it is worn for religious or medical reasons).

In your photograph you must be looking straight at the camera, have a neutral expression, with your eyes open and mouth closed.

You must not wear sunglasses or tinted glasses, and the photographs must not have any ‘red eye.’


You must not withhold information about any conviction.

This includes motoring offences (including speeding offences), bindovers, formal written cautions and convictions in and outside Great Britain, and (by virtue of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975) convictions which are spent under the 1974 Act.

A conditional discharge and an absolute discharge both count as convictions for this purpose.

You can check your driving licence record on the government website including any penalty points or disqualifications you have.

Details of parking offences and fixed penalty notices do not need to be declared.

Section 21 of the Firearms Act 1968 places restrictions on the possession of firearms and ammunition by those previously convicted of crime.

A person receiving a sentence of imprisonment of three months or more is prohibited from possessing a firearm, shotgun, antique firearm, air weapon or ammunition for five years from the date of their release.

In the case of a suspended sentence the prohibition applies from the second day after being sentenced.

If the sentence is three years or more the prohibition applies for life unless lifted by the Crown (or Sheriff) Court.

Suitability to Possess Firearms

The police must be satisfied that you are a fit person to be entrusted with firearms without danger to public safety or to the peace. The police will take into account whether there is any known history of alcohol, drug or medication abuse, violent of unsociable behaviour or mental or psychiatric disorder. Your referees will be asked to indicate any such occurrences and mention anything which gives them cause for concern about your suitability to possess firearms.


When applying for a firearm certificate, you should have gained the permission of two people who have agreed to act as referees for you.

When applying for a shotgun certificate you should have gained the permission of one person to act as a referee for you.

The referee(s) who have agreed to act for you must have known you personally for at least two years and must be resident in Great Britain.

A referee must not be a member of your immediate family, a registered firearms dealer, a serving police officer, a police employee, a Police and Crime Commissioner or a member of their staff, or a member of, or a member of staff of, the Scottish Police Authority.

Referees must be of good character and any references they agree to provide must be given freely and not on payment.


Applications for renewal of a FAC must also be accompanied by 2 references and one of the referees in such cases must be an official of the approved club named on your FAC.


You can apply at any time to vary your FAC if you want to add a new gun or have a gun you have sold or transferred taken off to regain a 'slot' for a replacement. One-for-one variations are usually free but there is a charge if you want to add an extra gun(s).


The application must be accompanied by a cheque for the appropriate fee.

Coterminous FAC & Shotgun Certificate (SGC)

If you also want to possess shotguns for clay shooting or game/rough shooting, you may apply for a coterminous FAC and SGC in which case the joint fees are reduced if both applications are dealt with at the same time. Multi-shot shotguns used in Practical Shotgun disciplines must be included on a FAC. If you already have a shotgun then the police may try and persuade you to go for a coterminous certificate. Depending on how long your shotgun certificate has to run, this may be an economical option anyway.


The Police will undoubtedly require you to keep guns and ammunition in a British Standard 'Kitemarked' gun safe(s) or in a properly constructed gun room. Home-made cabinets may be acceptable but you should seek police advice as to construction requirements. The majority of police forces expect you to have a British Standard alarm system if you wish to hold more than 9 guns. An alarm is not however a legal requirement. The gun safe must be securely rawl-bolted to a solid wall of the house and not be in a position which is readily visible to casual view. Inside a wardrobe, concealed under the stairs or in a loft are good places. Ammunition must be kept in a separate lockable metal box, again securely fixed to a wall. Some cabinets have a separate, lockable section for ammunition. 14g steel is usual in BS approved safes and external 'piano' type hinges are frowned upon as they are thought to be susceptible to attack - though stout piano hinges with multiple weld points would hold out against attack by a thief for quite a while.

It is essential that the location of the keys to your security cabinets are known only to yourself. A case where a solicitor had told his 85 year old mother where he kept a spare key for emergencies resulted in a revocation of his FAC (which he'd held for many years) by the police which was upheld following an appeal.

Quantities of Firearms

There is no legal limit to how many guns and ammunition you may apply for. However, the greater the quantity then the greater will be the necessity to justify your requests to the police. New applicants should be realistic and put down what guns they are likely to buy in the 5 years duration of the FAC and quantities of ammunition which are economical to purchase but are reasonable.

A usual first application may contain one or two .22 rifles, one as a semi-automatic may be required for 'action' disciplines and a bolt-action may be more appropriate for precision target shooting. If you can also shoot large calibre centre-fire rifles, then you could also put down for a .303, 7.62mm, .308, 5.56, or .270 rifle etc.

Quantities of Ammunition

For .22 rim-fire the usual quantity would be 750 or 1,500 rounds, depending on how much
shooting you do and how easy it is to get fresh supplies. This will allow you to buy another
500 or 1000 before you run out (see Question 21). For serious target shooters or rabbit
controllers the required quantity may well be much greater so that a good stock, (all of one
batch number so as to maintain the rifle’s zero), can be purchased at one time.

For centre-fire calibres it is more usual to have up to 250 rounds per calibre in this section,
which allows the purchase in good time of further supplies of ammunition. Your favourite
brand, bullet weight and bullet type may be difficult to obtain so enter enough to ensure
that you do not run out. If you live a long way from your nearest dealer or if supplies are
particularly difficult it may be sensible to increase the figure.

Black Powder

Black powder can only be bought and stored if you have an Explosives Certificate and a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) "Recipient Competent Authority Transfer Document" (these are free at present but must be applied for on forms obtainable from the police - Pyrodex (a black powder substitute) can be obtained without any certification. You may only store a maximum of 30 kilos of powder but as it is relatively expensive, doesn't have an indefinite shelf life and is potentially dangerous, this shouldn't worry you at all. It is worth bearing in mind however that the 30 Kg total would also include any powder in loaded rounds and/or shotgun cartridges and even in primers!

Storage of black powder is best in a lockable wooden box and most Police forces are happy for the box to be portable so in the event of fire it could be taken outside. It is advisable that the box should be kept out of view and most certainly out of the reach of children - which of course goes for all firearms and related equipment.

Useful Documents to Download
BASC Guide To Firearm's Forms
Applying for a Firearms Certificate
Firearms Acquisition Form