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Buying and Selling Shotguns

Information on the procedure of buying or selling a shotgun.

The matter of buying, selling or transferring shotguns to someone else is a very straight-forward and easy procedure.  Yet, surprisingly, many certificate holders, unwittingly, fall foul of the law in this respect. 
When you first acquire your shotgun certificate please sign it immediately, in the appropriate space.  Obviously, at this stage, there will be no shotguns shown on it, so how do you go about acquiring a shotgun?

There are various ways to acquire shotguns. These include buying or being given one from another certificate holder or Registered Firearms Dealer

If you look on the back of your shotgun certificate you will see "Table 2".  It is this table that must be completed by the person selling/transferring the gun to you. Similarly, if you sell or transfer one of your shotguns to another certificate holder, you must enter the details of that weapon, into "Table 2", on the back of the recipient's certificate.  You do not enter details of the transfer on your own certificate.  A good thing to remember is the only time you write on your own certificate is when you sign it. 

If you acquire a shotgun from a Registered Firearms Dealer, he will enter the details of the weapon, into "Table 2", on the back of your certificate. 

If you sell or dispose of a shotgun to a Registered Firearms Dealer, he will enter the transaction in his register.  There is no writing for you to do, other than: in all cases of acquiring or disposing of a shotgun, you must inform the Police Authority that issued your certificate.  The final handover of the weapon must be done in person.  It is no longer legal to acquire shotguns by mail order. 

As a shotgun certificate holder it is also possible for you to borrow another certificate holder or dealer's shotgun.  However, if the shotgun is to be in your possession for more than 72 hours, the person lending you the weapon must enter the details in "Table 2" stating the appropriate reason in Column B. 

The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 requires you to notify the Chief Officer of Police, within 7 days, who issued your certificate if you:

  • Transfer a shotgun to any other person including selling it, hiring it out, lending it for more than 72 hours, or making a gift of it or
  • Purchase or acquire a shotgun or
  • Deactivate a shotgun or have it deactivated by someone else or
  • Destroy a shotgun, lose a shotgun or have one stolen

These requirements apply even if the matter happened outside Great Britain, for which the notifying period is extended to within 14 days.