I have wanted to get in to shooting since a young age and it was only recently I decided to take the first steps and send off my application for a shotgun certificate.
Since being granted my certificate a number of friends and family have also decided to get involved much to my delight. I have been asked questions around the process and what to expect along the way. When I was applying for my SGC I kept reading through pages on the internet looking for advice so I thought I would share my personal experience should it be of help to anyone looking to get in to the sport.
First thing is first…
Get on to the website of your local police force and download the Grant application form. I am from North Yorkshire so went to the site address below to find mine:
I printed off two copies so I could do a draft in the first instance and make sure it was filled out correctly. I didn’t want a form with scribbles and mistakes going to the firearms department! Along with the form you will need to provide four passport photos (one of which you will need to sign), a cheque (currently at £79.50) and details of someone who will be happy to act as a referee.
On a side note! I also included a covering letter to express what experience I had with shooting, where I planned to shoot, people I had coaching lessons from and how I planned to store and maintain any Shotgun I was in possession of.
Your local firearms licensing office will be able to answer any questions you have on how to complete the form if in doubt! I called the N Yorks office a few times and they were extremely pleasant, polite and helpful.
Once the form was in the post and on its way I then needed to purchase a Shotgun cabinet. Ebay was a good place to start for a reasonable price, however any local gun shop will be able to advise on what is suitable. I went for a Brattonsound cabinet as one of the most recognisable names although there are a large number of different tyes and manufacturers out there.
You will need to make sure this is fitted securely in your home to a solid wall and ideally in the left hand corner of a wall. My local FEO (firearms enquiry officer) said that when he comes to do a home visit (I will come on to that shortly) that he likes to assess how many layers of security he needs to go through before finding the cabinet. So really a cabinet fixed to a wall by your front door and visible from the street through your window is not going to work. If you imagine a burglar breaking their way in to your house to do a quick “dash and grab” make sure your cabinet would not be on view! I would recommend upstairs in a dressing room, bedroom etc.
Your cabinet will come with two sets of keys. One set must be kept on your person at all times and the other set safely hidden away at home. Note that no one in your property (girlfriend, boyfriend, mum or dad etc.) should have knowledge of where they keys are unless they too have a SGC.
Your local FEO will likely arrange a home visit after they have done the relevant background checks to ensure your cabinet is securely fitted and interview you.
At this stage it is likely that the checks have all been cleared and they will more than likely have you SGC with them ready to give to you. If anything comes back from the checks that they are not happy with they will contact you to inform you.
When the FEO meets you at your home they will want to ascertain why you wish to keep a gun, what you intend to use it for and see if you have done you research. I wouldn’t greet them at the door in full cammo gear but make sure you are presentable and smart in appearance. They are not there to catch you out so just be open, honest and relaxed.
All being well if the FEO is happy they should give you your certificate on the spot or it should be with you in the post shortly after their visit.
From what I can tell there is no set rule and different police forces vary somewhat on the time it takes to grant a SGC. In North Yorkshire both my self and my brother had ours granted within 6-8 weeks. You are more than welcome to call your local force to check on the progress of your application at any time.
There is probably a lot more that I can add, but if you have any questions I would be happy to answer them based on my personal experience, but remember the process is different from person to person.