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Firearms and Shotguns

The Police are the licensing authority for firearm and shotgun certificates.

Permission to possess or to purchase or acquire a firearm or shotgun will be granted to an individual who is assessed by the Police as not posing a threat to public safety or the peace and having good reason to own the firearm or shotgun. It is important to raise awareness of counter terrorism within the community and as a Firearms Certificate Holder you can help by "Playing Your Part". Please familiarise yourself with the content of this leaflet.

Firearm Certificates

A firearm Certificate must be held for any ‘Firearm’ or ammunition for such a weapon. For the full definition please refer to The only exceptions are

  • Shotguns which may be held on a Shotgun Certificate
  • Shotgun cartridges containing five or more shot, none of which exceeds .36inch in diameter, which can only be purchased on production of a Shotgun Certificate
  • Air weapons of a type not declared specially dangerous (those falling below 6ft/lbs for an Air Pistol or 12ft/lbs for an Air Rifle
  • Ammunition for an air gun, air rifle or air pistol
  • Blank cartridges not more than one inch in diameter

Component parts of Section 1 firearms also require a Firearm Certificate, as do accessories, such as sound moderators.

The Firearm Certificate will specify the type and calibre of each firearm (and amount of corresponding ammunition, not applicable to air weapon ammunition) that may be possessed. More dangerous firearms, classified as ‘prohibited weapons’ are covered by Section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968, and generally require authority from the Scottish Government.


A Shotgun Certificate must be held for any 'Shotgun'. For the full definition please refer to


Application/Renewal Processes and Fees


If you meet the criteria and can demonstrate that you require a firearm or shotgun on a regular, legitimate basis (Good Reason) for work, sport or leisure (including collection or research) then you may apply using form 201 found below.

Please note: The Equality Monitoring Form within Part H in form 201 below (application for grant of firearms or shotgun) MUST NOT be completed.

Good reason may be evidenced by having authority to shoot over land, membership of a target shooting club or proof of regular use. You can download the form or contact any police station for a hard copy or you can send a stamp addressed A4 or A5 envelope with a 1st class large letter stamp affixed to your local processing centre.

You may apply for a Firearm Certificate, a Shotgun Certificate, or both provided you meet the required criteria.

Once complete you should send your application with identical photographs and payment to your local firearms licensing processing centre, found here

On receipt of your application, your enquiry will be allocate to a local Firearm Enquiry Officer (FEO) who will carry our enquiry including interviewing your referees, background checks, and a home visit and security check.

You will subsequently be informed of the outcome of your enquiry, either the grant or the refusal of your certificate. If granted your certificate is valid for 5 years.


Existing certificate holders will be notified in writing 16 weeks prior to the expiry of their existing certificate(s). Your enquiry will be allocated to a local Firearms Enquiry Officer who will confirm your intention to renew and carry out full enquiry as before.

It is important to note that once completed, the application (form 201) should not be sent to Police Scotland. A Firearms Enquiry Officer will be in contact with you to make an appointment to attend your home address, collect your completed application and photographs and carry out the relevant enquiry.

If you do not wish to renew your certificates please make contact with our office as soon as possible and we will provide advice and assistance.


  • An application to vary a firearm certificate may be made at any time. In general terms:
  • Where the number of firearms are increased a fee is payable.
  • A rifle may be exchanged for another of the same general calibre and type. This is known as 'one for one' to replace a worn firearm or acquire a preferred one. In practice, the old firearm should be disposed of, a 'one for one' variation applied for within 7 days and the new firearm acquired when granted.

Where the variation involves substantial change of weapon type then enquiry will be made by a licensing officer.

Please complete Form 201V (found below) and return to your local Firearms and Explosives Licensing Department with the relevant fee. (Only payable if you are increasing your number of firearms).

Once received, your variation will be considered and either Supported, Not Supported or returned to you for further information. If supported your new amended certificate will be sent to you.


Please do not send cash through the post. Make Cheques payable to the SCOTTISH POLICE AUTHORITY or contact us for details on how to make payment via your online banking.

  • Grant of a Firearm Certificate: £88
  • Grant of a Shotgun Certificate: £79.50
  • Renewal of Firearm Certificate: £62
  • Renewal of Shotgun Certificate: £49
  • Coterminous Grant/Renewal: £90/65
  • Replacement of lost or stolen certificate: £4
  • Variation (not like for like): £20

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