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The law does not define how firearms/shotguns should be stored but before any certificate is issued by the police the Chief Officer of police must be satisfied that any owner of a firearm or shotgun keeps the guns so that there is no danger to the public.

The reason for this being one of safety in that the guns, if not secured properly, could fall into the hands of criminals or young children or inexperienced persons. In cases where guns have fallen into the wrong hands, the consequences could (and have) proved fatal.

It is also a condition on all firearm and shotgun certificates that each gun held must be kept secure. It is an offence not to do so which could result in a court appearance and also the revocation of your certificate should the conditions be breached in any way.

There are various forms of security, some of which are mentioned below:

  • Gun Cabinet
    An ideal place in which to keep firearms/shotguns is in a lockable gun cabinet (BS7558 approved) which should be located in a protected part of the premises (i.e. not in a garage or outbuilding) out of sight of casual visitors and secured to the internal structure of the building
  • Gun Clamps
    Gun clamps are an effective way to store individual guns but unless the clamps are positioned in a particular way they provide little or no security for the gun. (Ask your supplier for installation details). From a security point of view the gun clamp should be used for one gun only in addition to other security and out of sight.
  • Securicord
    Again as with gun clamps, securicord is acceptable but only when used as an additional method of security. At all times the gun(s) should be out of sight of casual visitors.
  • Gun Rooms
    Many people prefer to keep their guns locked in a purpose built gun room. Before you construct a gun room it would be advisable to contact your local Crime Reduction Officer for advice, or see the Firearms Security Handbook published by the Home Office .
  • Alarm Systems
    All forms of the above security can be further enhanced by the addition of an alarm system. Again you can contact your local Crime Reduction Officer for advice.
  • Safety Whilst Travelling
    Always try to transport a firearm/shotgun in its case or in a protective gun cover although the use of a cable security device may prohibit this. Bear in mind that a firearm and shotgun certificate carries a condition relating to the security of the gun in that whilst in transit reasonable precautions must be taken for the safe custody of the gun. The gun should be out of sight in the vehicle and the vehicle should always be properly locked when left unattended, with the vehicle alarm and/or immobilized set.
  • Security of Ammunition
    It is just as important to keep ammunition secure. With Section 1 ammunition, it is a condition of the Firearm Certificate to do so and it is a stipulation that such ammunition be stored separately from guns
  • Remember:
    Security is your responsibility you could lose your right to possess guns if you are negligent in securing guns and ammunition.

Security standards are very important and each case will be examined on its merits when consideration is given in respect of the application for a firearm or shotgun certificate.

Any keys to cabinets, guns rooms, etc., should also be stored discreetly to avoid easy access to your firearms/shotguns.

Tips on Gun Safety

  • Never point a gun at anyone
  • Always unload your gun before crossing an obstacle
  • Always hand a gun to someone else with the breech open and empty
  • Never load a gun indoors unless on an approved range
  • Never allow unsupervised children to handle guns or ammunition
  • Never stand a gun against anything where it can be knocked over
  • Never put a loaded gun down
  • Never shoot unless you are sure what you are shooting
  • Never shoot unless you are sure it is safe to do so
  • Never attempt to shoot unless you are steady on your feet
  • Always ensure that the cartridge/bullet type and shot size is suitable for your purpose and gun
  • Do not mix different bores of shotgun cartridges together
  • Always clean your gun before putting it away
  • Always keep your gun locked away securely when not in use