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Firearms Licensing

Application for the grant / renewal of a firearm / shotgun certificate - UPDATED  19/11/2021

Following the recent publication of changes to the Home Office Statutory Guidance for the granting and renewal of certificates, applicants are now required, at their own expense, to obtain a GP report as part of this new application process. 

It is now the responsibility of the applicant for both grant, renewal, or variation to complete and return the application form without delay to the Firearms Licensing Unit. For both grants and renewal’s you must also complete the medical proforma and submit this to your GP. The application will only be processed upon receipt of the application form and GP report. Please allow plenty of time for you to obtain your GP report. Where possible please submit the application form and GP response together to minimise delay in the application process. If applying via our secure online application form, your application will placed as ‘pending’ and therefore not completed until we have received your GP report.

Please note: It is the responsibility of the applicant to arrange for information about their medical suitability to be provided by their General Practitioner (GP) or another suitably qualified doctor registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) to the police firearms licensing department dealing with their application. When the medical information is being provided to the police by a doctor from a private company, the doctor must receive the applicant’s medical information direct from the GP practice and not via the applicant.

We would strongly advise certificate holders to start the renewal process as soon as they receive the reminder renewal letter (we send these out 3 months prior to the certificate expiry date) or sooner. You will receive an 8 week extension only if you apply at least 8 weeks prior to expiry. If your certificate expires and you are still in possession of your weapon(s) and you have not received an extension notification you will be committing an offence under the Firearms Act 1968 Section (1).  This may affect any future certificate application that you may wish to make.

If you do not wish to renew your certificate and you do not possess any licensed guns, please advise Firearms Licensing of this via email prior to your expiry date. If you do not wish to renew your certificate but still have licensed guns in your possession, please ensure they are transferred to another certificate holder or to a registered firearms dealer before your expiry date and ensure you notify the Firearms Licensing Department of this prior to your expiry. 

The Firearms Licensing department appreciates these changes may be inconvenient for many but would very much appreciate your efforts in complying with these changes. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your patience and co-operation throughout this process. 

Please note it is your responsibility, as the applicant, to ensure the application and GP report is received by the Firearms Licensing Department without undue delay.


COVID-19  UPDATE 28/10/2021

Due to COVID-19 and the ongoing restrictions this presents, there has been significant delays in processing Firearm and Shotgun certificates. Please be assured we are working to the best of our ability to provide you with the best possible service.


  • All General Correspondence must be sent electronically via email firearms.licensing@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk, Emails will be monitored regularly but please note response times cannot be guaranteed. If your enquiry is non urgent and an answer is available on our website you will not receive a response to your email. 

  • Gun transfer notifications. If you have transferred, sold or purchased any shotguns or firearms, please complete our online Gun Transfer form

  • Change of address. If you have moved house and now in your new property, please complete our online Change of address form

  • Renewal ApplicationsRenewal applications for Dorset are open. You can apply online on our new secure web form or download a paper form and send it via post to Firearms and Explosive Licensing Department, Devon and Cornwall police Headquarters, Middlemoor, Exeter EX2 7HQ. Please ensure you return your renewal application 8 weeks prior to the expiry date of your certificate. This will automatically add an extension of 8 weeks to the original certificate expiry date to ensure that you comply with legal requirements and remain in lawful possession of your guns and ammunition.

  • Grant Applications - Grant applications for Dorset are open, You can apply online on our new secure web form or download a paper form and send it via post to Firearms and Explosive Licensing Department, Devon and Cornwall police Headquarters, Middlemoor, Exeter EX2 7HQ. Please be assured we are working as hard and fast as we can to process your applications. As your Grant progresses along the application stage we will contact you to arrange a visit / inspection. We are unable to give a timescale, however we aim to contact you as soon as you reach the appropriate stage. Any enquiries prior to being contacted should be made via email

  • Firearm Variations - We are pleased to announce that suspension on Firearms Variations has now been removed and we are able to process your requests

  • No timescales other than those published on this website can be provided for any enquiry or application type at this time.


Telephone lines are open between 10:00 – 12:00pm  Monday to Friday. Please use the above 'General Correspondence' Email address outside of these times.

The firearms licensing department acknowledges that these changes may cause some inconvenience however we appreciate your understanding and efforts to support us during these unprecedented times.

We aim to ensure that the law and guidance are implemented; to provide public safety and to support the use of legally owned firearms. To achieve this aim, all applicants will be subject to a vetting process to ensure that they are suitable to possess firearms, shotguns or explosives. Every effort will be made to provide an effective and efficient service to all certificate holders.


Thank you for your patience and co-operation, please take care and stay safe.

Application Forms

Our online forms and paper forms can be found here. These include Online Application Forms, Online Renewal Forms, Online Change of Address form, Online Gun Transfer Form (Notification of Sale / Purchase).

Application Waiting Times

Please note current average processing times on receipt of a completed Firearm/Shotgun application :-

Firearm and Shotgun grant application – 

We are now able to process your Grants and Firearms Variation requests as the suspension caused by Covid-19 on these has been lifted.

When a completed application has been received at the Firearms Licensing Department, your payment will be processed and the application forwarded to a Firearm Enquiry Officer for allocation.


Important Licensing Information

Prohibited Persons

Section 21 of the Firearms Act 1968 specifies conditions that prohibit certain persons from having in their possession a firearm or ammunition after conviction.

  • A person who has been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of three months or more but less than three years (including youth custody or detention in a young offenders institution), shall not at have a firearm or ammunition in his possession at any time during the period of five years from the date of his release.
  • A person who has been sentenced to custody for life, or to preventive detention, imprisonment or corrective training (including youth custody or detention in a young offenders institution), for a term of three years or more, shall not have a firearm or ammunition in his possession for life.

 The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Police Act 2014 extended these conditions.

  • From 14 July 2014, where a person receives a suspended sentence of three months or more;
    They shall not have a firearm or ammunition in his possession at any time during the period of five years beginning with the second day after the date on which the sentence was passed.
    (This timescale has been set so that a person who is in possession of a firearm or ammunition is not in immediate breach of the law when the sentence is passed and has an opportunity to make arrangements to transfer or dispose of their firearm or ammunition)
  • A person who received a suspended sentence before 14 July 2014 and already has a firearm certificate they will be able to retain their firearm and ammunition for the duration of their certificate.
    At the point of expiry they will not be granted a renewal of their certificate or permitted retain their firearms and ammunition until after the five year period from the second day after sentencing.

 Note: The term Firearm includes firearms, shotguns & air weapons


The Scottish Government is introducing a new licensing system for most air weapons in Scotland.

 From 31 December 2016, you will generally need a visitor permit to use, possess, purchase or acquire air weapons while in Scotland.  This includes buying an air weapon, someone giving one to you, or simply having an air weapon in your possession.  If you already hold a valid firearm and/or shotgun licence issued in England or Wales before 31 December, and you are not planning on buying a gun while in Scotland,  you may not need a permit until your existing certificate expires or is renewed.

Applications for visitor permits (or full air weapon certificates) should be made to Police Scotland who will decide your application and deal with any questions you have about the process.  You can download the appropriate application form from www.airweapon.scot or www.scotland.police.uk.  When complete, it should be sent to Police Scotland at:

 Air Weapons Team

Police Scotland

Clyde Gateway

2 French Street



G40 4EH 

 You can also get further information on air weapon licensing, including information on exemptions from the need to hold a certificate, at www.airweapon.scot