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Offence Maximum penalty 
Maximum penalty 
Drunk in charge of a loaded firearm   One month  £200
Murder  Life   
Wounding/Grievous bodily harm  Life  £ unlimited 
Threats to kill  Ten years  £ unlimited 
Offensive weapon in a public place  Four years  £ unlimited 
Manslaughter  Life  £ unlimited 
Actual bodily harm  Two years  £ unlimited 
Common assault  Ten years  £ unlimited 
Criminal damage  Ten years  £5,000 
Having anything in his custody or control intending to use it to cause criminal damage  Ten years  £5,000 
Possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life or injure property  Ten years  £ unlimited 
Possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear or unlawful violence  Ten years  £ unlimited 
Using firearms to resist arrest  Life  £ unlimited 
Prohibited person possessing firearm or ammunition  Five years  £ unlimited 
Possession of firearm with intent to commit an offence  Life  £ unlimited 
Carrying loaded firearm in public place  Seven years  £ unlimited 
Trespassing with firearm in building/on land  Seven years  £ unlimited 
Person under seventeen acquiring firearm  Six months  £5,000 
Person under 14 possessing airgun or ammunition    £1,000 
Person under 17 having air weapon in a public place    £1,000 
Person under 14 making improper use of airgun when under supervision    £1,000 
Adult supervisor of person under 14 making improper use of an airgun    £1,000 
Selling a firearm (includes airgun) to a person under 17  Six months  £5,000 
Supplying air weapon to person under 14    £1,000 
Failure to hand over firearm or ammunition to constable for examination    £1,000 
Discharging a firearm within fifty feet of the centre of a highway causing injury, interruption or danger    £1,000 
Discharging a firearm within fifty feet of the centre of a highway causing damage    £1,000 
Wantonly discharging firearm in street  14 days  £1,000 
At the time of arrest for scheduled offence has in his possession a firearm or imitation without lawful object  Life  £ unlimited 
Ill-treat or cause unnecessary suffering to any animal  6 months  £5,000 
Aggravated burglary  Life   
Kill, injure any wild animal under Schedule 5 Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981    £1,000 
Supply firearms to a person drunk or insane  3 months  £1,000 




Section 11(6) of the Firearms Act 1968 states:

"A person may, without holding a shotgun certificate, use a shotgun at a time and place approved for shooting at artificial targets by the chief officer of police for the area in which that place is situated."

1. The organiser of any clay pigeon shoot at which persons who do not hold a shot gun certificate wish to shoot must apply to the Chief Officer for the area in which the shoot is to take place for an exemption under section 11(6) of the 1968 Firearms Act.

2. This allows non-certificate holders to possess shot guns at a time and place approved by the Chief Officer for shooting at artificial targets which normally, though not exclusively, includes clay pigeons.

3. This exemption applies ONLY to shot guns falling under section 2 of the Firearms Act 1968 (as amended).

4. Any person under 15 using a shot gun must be supervised by a person of, or over, 21. (Firearms Act 1968, Section 22(3)).

5. Prohibited persons as defined by Section 21 of the Firearms Act 1968 (If known) must not be permitted to be in possession of guns or ammunition.

6. The owners of any shot guns used on the site are reminded that the security of those guns remains solely their responsibility." 



Good reason

It must be stressed that this section relates to shotguns (Section 2 weapons) only. "Good reason" for Section 1 Firearms is a different entity and dealt with under the firearms section. But see also Government Proposals.

The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 revised the criteria set out in Section 28 of the 1968 Act for the grant and renewal of a shotgun certificate, so as to allow Chief Officers of Police more discretion to make enquiries into applications. It is important to note how the criteria differ from those in respect of applications for Section 1 weapons. No certificate shall be granted or renewed if the Chief Officer of Police:

arrow Has reason to believe that the applicant is prohibited by the Act from possessing
a shotgun; OR
arrow Iis satisfied that the applicant does not have a good reason for possessing, purchasing or acquiring a shotgun

However, the Act does not require the applicant to make out a good case for being granted a shotgun certificate, but extends the Chief Officer's grounds for refusing one.

Each and every application will be judged on its own merit, but the usual reasons for requiring a shotgun include the following:

Clay pigeon shooting

We strongly believe that it is always best to join a reputable club first, before applying for your shotgun certificate. You will find most clubs helpful and very keen to assist you in many ways.

You can, not only get expert advice and assistance to help you make the right choices in your chosen sport, but gain valuable experience as well. However, non-certificate holders can only shoot at artificial targets, with clubs approved by the Chief Officer of Police, on specific days allowed by their Section 11(6) permit.

Vermin control

Unlike a firearm certificate, a shotgun certificate does not include any specific conditions as to where you are allowed to shoot. However "Land-use", as it is called when shooting vermin, should only be indulged over farmland or other similar large areas. Even so the greatest care must be taken to ensure that other people are not within your line of fire.

The permission of the land owner is paramount.


Using replica muskets, many people enjoy the pastime of re-enacting Civil and Colonial Wars. Some even make their own muskets and uniform. The sight of a large army in full uniform skirmishing with the enemy is quite a spectacle. There are many societies and associations which specialise in this field, so if this is where your interest lies, we would advise you to contact them directly. They will be only too eager to accept new recruits.