My parents are in their fifties, work in town and live in the suburbs, but they both own shotguns and not just one each. To them shotguns are things of beauty, with their smooth carved wood, and engraved metal pictures, often featuring birds. Each gun is different and they both have their favourites. My parents use their guns to shoot, mostly clays, but some collectors keep shotguns for nothing other than the pleasure of owning them.
What do I need to consider before I start a gun collection?
What do you need to know if you want to collect shotguns?
Some antique shotguns are classified as obsolete by the Home Office. The classification means that no special security arrangements are required for these guns. They can be displayed in the house openly, and no license is required. On no account should any ammunition be held for shotguns kept without a license, otherwise you will be committing a serious criminal offense. For any other shotgun, whether you intend to shoot it or not, you will need to have a license, issued by your local police force. Each gun you own has to be recorded on the license. You will also need a police approved gun cabinet to store your guns in.
How do I get a shotgun license?
You have to fill out an application form, which you can get online from the Firearms and Explosives Licensing department within your local police force. There is a fee of £50. You have to provide photographs, which show your face clearly. The photograph will need to be countersigned by someone who has known you for at least two years. My parents received a visit at home from the local police licensing officer who spent some time chatting with them, looked around the house and checked over the gun cabinet. The police officer checked that they had a valid reason for owning the shotguns. In their case they were able to point to their membership of a local shooting club. Be prepared for a fairly in depth conversation, my parents ended up lending the officer some travel guides for a holiday he was taking, which he then returned about six months later. Although it is a right of every UK citizen to be issued with a license for a shotgun, the police have to satisfy themselves that you have a good reason for wanting one and that you are of sound mind. This may take some time!
Do I need special security arrangements if I own shotguns?
Yes, the police will want to inspect your gun cabinet to make sure that it is secure. A lockable gun cabinet is generally required. Ammunition needs to be kept separately, although that can be within the gun cabinet as long as it is in a separate compartment, under separate lock and key. The gun cabinet needs to be fixed to the floor or wall with strong fittings that will resist force to remove them. There should be no gaps between the wall or floor and the cabinet, to make it harder for the cabinet to be prised away from its bolts. The cabinet should not be obviously visible and should be within a secure home, not in a garage or outhouse.If you need shotgun insurance contact our office, we will be pleased to assist you