The firearms licensing process

Firearms statutory guidance is due to be updated.

Location: Scotland Wales England
Audience: GPs Practice managers
Updated: Friday 15 October 2021
GP practice article illustration

Statutory guidance for chief officers of police on firearms licensing will be published on GOV.UK on 18 October and will come into effect on 1 November 2021.

The statutory guidance is intended to promote greater consistency and higher standards of decision-making for police firearms licensing applications. It will ensure the guidance is given greater weight by the courts.

The aim is to ensure greater consistency by the police in their assessment of the suitability of applicants for the grant and renewal of firearms certificates, including in relation to medical checks.

While the granting of firearm certificates is an operational matter for the police, they will be required to have regard to the statutory guidance.

The new statutory guidance will apply to safeguards relating to firearms ownership, such as police background checks, the factors to be considered, and the weight to be given to evidence that has not been tested by the courts. 

The statutory guidance also contains new arrangements for assessing the medical suitability of applicants. It will ensure that no one is granted a firearms certificate unless their doctor has confirmed to the police whether or not they have any relevant medical conditions, including in relation to their mental health.

Updated BMA guidance will be published here in the coming days.