Part One: Introduction

Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey on the licensing of firearms and shotguns in England and Wales.

There has been heightened public concern following the recent tragic shooting of five people in Plymouth by a man who then killed himself. The Home Office is currently reviewing arrangements for the licensing of guns and will shortly be introducing new statutory guidance to be followed by all police forces.

This survey has been created by elected Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs), who represent the voice of the public in policing. PCCs want to understand the public's views and ensure they are heard by the Home Office when considering possible revisions to the current rules and processes around licensing of weapons in England and Wales.

Thank you for taking the time to share your views on this important subject.
 
Please take the time to read the following information before answering the questions which follow:
 
Not all types of guns can be legally used in England and Wales. Some weapons, including most types of handguns, are banned for use in the UK.
 
To be able to legally possess and use a firearm or shotgun, a person requires a licence or certificate which is issued by the police. (There are some legal exceptions - police officers, for example.)

An individual may wish to possess and use a weapon for a variety of reasons. This may include their profession - eg farmers, vets, gamekeepers, or people working in pest or vermin control - or they may seek to possess and use a firearm or shotgun for recreational or other sporting purposes such as clay pigeon shooting.

Those applying for a licence are charged an application or renewal fee by their local police force. Currently the fee is between £79 and £90 for an initial application. The fees are set nationally and have not changed since 2015. The fee does not fully cover the police's costs in administrating the certification process.

Applicants must go through an assessment by the local police force which is carried out in compliance with national standards and guidance. This includes a request for medical information to be provided by the applicant's GP, and should also include interviews and home visits. References are also required. Not all applications are successful, with around 3% of applications for new certificates or licences refused in 2020/21.

To grant a firearm or shotgun certificate, the police must be satisfied that:

(i) the applicant has good reason for having the firearm
(ii) the applicant is fit to be entrusted with a firearm
(iii) the public safety or peace will not be endangered.

Licences and certificates are valid for five years, and then must be renewed if the licence holder wishes to retain their firearm(s). They can be revoked by the police at any time if the holder no longer meets the conditions of their licence.

At the end of last year (2020/21), more than 565,000 people in England and Wales held a firearms licence and/or a shotgun certificate.

They held 548,000 shotgun certificates and more than 156,000 firearms certificates in total, as some people may need to hold both licences. There were 1,996,570 weapons held on those certificates. The majority of those - 1,390,000 - were shotguns which can hold no more than two rounds at a time.

Question Title

* 1. Please tick this box to confirm you have read the above information and that you are ready to start the survey.

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