William Powell Country

Firearms ‘The Legal Series’
Part 4


Article written by 20 September 2012

Application Procedure

The provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 do not apply to an application for the grant or renewal of a firearm or shotgun certificate, and an applicant is therefore not entitled to withhold information about a previous conviction on the grounds it is “spent” for other purposes. All convictions should be disclosed, including those for motoring offences, and convictions received outside the UK.

Similarly, any medical condition should be disclosed, and the application form requires an applicant to provide their GP’s details and consent to the police contacting him or her. In any case where the police have concerns, they will make enquiries with the doctor and ask for a medical report. Increasingly, it seems, the grant or renewal of a certificate will be refused if the applicant has any history of depression or mental illness.  The fact that someone suffered briefly from mild or even severe depression in the past does not necessarily mean they cannot now be entrusted with firearms or shotguns without danger to the public safety or the peace, and consideration should be given to challenging such a decision, if necessary through the courts.  Our experience of such appeals, where well founded, is positive to date.

Certificates are normally issued for a period of five years.  Where both a shotgun certificate and a firearms certificate are applied for/held a reduced fee will be payable for “coterminous” certificates, to reflect the saving to the police in carrying out both renewal procedures at the same time.

Although the police will normally issue reminder letters around two months before a certificate is due to expire, it is the certificate holders duty to apply for renewal before expiry. If the renewal has not been processed in time then the guns should be placed in storage with a dealer – like William Powell Limited – to avoid being in unlawful possession of them.


Matthew Knight is the Senior Partner of Knights Solicitors. Knights are retained by a number of national organisations in relation to firearms licencing including The National Small-Bore Rifle Association. Knight are also retained by se.. Read more.

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