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Firearms Licensing

COVID-19  UPDATED  08/01/2021

****As a result of unforeseen circumstances surrounding COVID-19, processes have been amended to deal with the evolving situation, however delays are to be expected.****

Due to COVID-19 and the ongoing restrictions this presents, there has been significant delays in processing Firearm and Shotgun certificates.

Please note the following changes with immediate effect, until further notice;

  •  Due to the new COVID – 19 restrictions implemented on 04/01/2021 All Grant Applications and all Firearm variations will be suspended except for those identified as essential for occupational activities.   We are currently unable to put a date on when these services will resume but are constantly monitoring the situation and will resume these services at the earliest opportunity.


  • Any grant application or firearm variation applications received within the firearms licensing department will be returned and will not be processed unless you fulfil the COVID-19 exemptions as above
  • All general correspondence EXCLUDING APPLICATIONS must be sent electronically via email to: firearms.licensing@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk, Emails will be monitored regularly but please note response times cannot be guaranteed, but we will endeavour to respond as soon as possible.
  • APPLICATIONS.  From 23/09/2020 due to processing complications renewal applications will ONLY be accepted in paper form posted to Firearms and Explosive Licensing Department, Devon and Cornwall police Headquarters, Middlemoor, Exeter EX2 7HQ. Application forms can be found here /our-services/firearms/application-notification-forms
  • 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.
  • 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 9.30 and 15.30 Monday to Friday.  The Office number is 01392 225650


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.

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


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.

Our preferred method of communication is via email firearms.licensing.

You can also contact the Firearms and Explosives Licensing Team during usual office hours on 01392 225650 if you have any enquiry that is not answered in our FAQ. But please do take the time to look at our question and answer materials first.

Our postal address is:

Firearms and Explosives Licensing Team, Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police, Police Headquarters Building, Middlemoor, Exeter, EX2 7HQ

Privacy Notice

Devon and Cornwall and Dorset Police handle personal data in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679) and the Data Protection Act 2018 – for more detail please see the Privacy Notice on our website or this can be sent to you on request. Link - Privacy Notice

Application Waiting Times

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

Firearm and Shotgun grant application – 

Due to COVID-19 and the ongoing restrictions this presents, there has been significant delays in progressing all applications for Firearm and Shotgun certificates.  Any statistics produced at this time would not be reflective of our current position and expectations would not be managed.

Once 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.


Change of Address 

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