Firearms and shotguns
The Police is the licensing authority for firearm and shotgun certificates.
Permission to possess, or to buy a firearm or shotgun will be granted to an individual who is assessed by the Police.
They will need to not pose a threat to public safety and have good reason to own the firearm or shotgun.
It is important to raise awareness of counter terrorism to Firearms Certificate Holders. You can learn more in this Firearms Terrorism leaflet.
A firearm certificate must be held for any firearm or ammunition.
For the full definition please visit the. The only exceptions are:
- Shotguns which may be held on a shotgun certificate
- Shotgun cartridges containing five or more shots (none of which exceeds .36inch in diameter) which can only be bought when producing a shotgun certificate
- Air weapons 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. This also applies to 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. They generally require authority from the Scottish Government.
A shotgun certificate must be held for any shotgun. For the full definition please visit the Firearms Act 1968.
Application/renewal processes and fees
Grant of a firearm/shotgun
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. 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 centres.
On receipt of your application, your enquiry will be allocated to a local Firearm Enquiry Officer (FEO). They will carry our enquiry including interviewing your referees, background checks, and a home visit and security check.
You will then be informed of the outcome of your enquiry. You will either be granted or the refused your certificate. If granted your certificate is valid for 5 years.
Renewal of a firearm/shotgun
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 make arrangements to carryout enquiries.
It is important to note that once completed, application (Form 201) should not be sent to Police Scotland. A Firearms Enquiry Officer will advise you on how your paperwork should be received by us.
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.
Variation of a firearm/shotgun certificate
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 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. It will be 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
Changes to the law relating to antique firearms
From 22 March 2021 there are changes to legislation relating to antique firearms.
The undernoted 7 cartridges previously included in the Home Office obsolete calibre list will now require to be held on a firearms certificate.
• 320 British (also known as .320 Revolver CF, short or long)
• .41 Colt (short or long)
• .44 Smith and Wesson Russian
• .442 Revolver (also known as .44 Webley)
• 9.4mm Dutch Revolver
• 10.6mm German Ordnance Revolver
• 11mm French Ordnance Revolver M1873 (Army).
If you own a firearm chambered for use with the above cartridges you will have to apply for a firearms certificate or apply for a variation to your existing certificate (see fees section).
Further guidance can be found within the documents below.
Mental Health Leaflet
A leaflet providing information on mental health support for firearms certificate holders has been released by the Scottish Firearms Licensing Practitioners Group. The leaflet can be found on the website of basc.org.uk and sacs.org.uk. Police Scotland are unable to publish the leaflet on our website due to public sector accessibility standards.
- Application Form for Grant or Renewal of Firearms/Shotgun Certificates - form 201 (PDF)
- Application Form for Variation of Firearms Certificate - form 201V (PDF)
- Notification of Shooting / Pest Control
- HO Antique Firearms - Flowchart
- Changes to the Law on Antique Firearms