The possession of firearms and ammunition in Great Britain is regulated mainly by the Firearms Acts 1968 (as amended). You'll find guidance, good practice on firearms law, and forms for applying for approvals under the law.

Firearms licensing


The guidance to the police on firearms law is intended to assist consistency of practice between police forces by providing them with comprehensive guidance, and also to encourage an understanding among firearms users of the considerations involved.

Firearms Security Handbook provides guidance for police and others on securely storing and moving guns. Firearms security: a brief guide is also available.

The 2011 leaflet 'Air weapons: a brief guide to safety' contains information on the safe handling and storage of air weapons, the different types of air weapons and air weapons and the law.  

Approval of rifle and muzzle-loading pistol clubs explains what approval means and how clubs can apply for it. It also explains the criteria and conditions which they must meet in order to obtain approval and remain approved.

Other publications include:

Maritime security


The year 2013 is a peak renewal period for section 5 authority holders.  If your section 5 is due to expire in May, June or July you are advised to apply for renewal earlier than usual enclosing documentary evidence of your trade for the previous six months and prospective trade.

Police use of firearms

For general information for the police on the use of firearms, you need to go to the following pages on The National Archives:

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