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Importing guns into the UK

We have created two scenarios to simplify the UK’s Import Laws of Guns:

Scenario one; HM Customs and Excise received a query from an American citizen, moving to the UK, who wanted to bring his shotgun for clay-pigeon shooting.

If he imports guns before he is a resident in the United Kingdom then he will need to get a "British Visitors Firearms Permit" (BVP). In order to get a BVP he needs to get a "Sponsor" who lives in the UK to apply on his behalf. The sponsor must apply to the Chief Officer of Police for the area that he will live in. Application forms are available from all local Police stations.

Sending guns across borders? recommends London Gun Services for all gun imports.

The process varies for each country, contact London Gun Services to discuss your exact requirements of importing a gun into the UK.

The sponsor should: Fill in the application form on his behalf, give details of all events he will be taking part in and send the firearms permit to the foreign importer once it has been granted.

As the visitor, he would need to give the sponsor details of the firearm(s) and ammunition that he will possess while in the UK, and the reason for possessing and importing the guns.

The Chief Officer of Police must be satisfied that they have good reason for having the firearms while they are in the United Kingdom, before they will issue a British Visitors Firearms Permit.

In scenario two, if he imports when resident in the UK, he will need to apply to the Chief Officer of Police for the area that he is resident in, for a UK Shotgun Certificate. He will need to state make, model and ammunition intended to be used on the application form, plus state where the shotgun will be stored when not in use.

Once he has obtained the shotgun certificate he can then import the shotgun against the Shotgun certificate that he had obtained.

Customs can detain firearms up to a period of three months; after that the firearm would be formally seized. If the importer thinks that it might take longer than the three-month period, it might be wise for the importer to get a Registered Firearms Dealer (RFD) to import and store the shotgun on their behalf, until he obtains the necessary shotgun certificate from the police.

If you want to move firearms around Europe, there is a European Union Directive (Council Directive 91/477/EEC of 18 June 1991) on the control of the acquisition and possession of weapons. It announced a pass, intended to facilitate the free movement of hunters and marksmen in the Community.

According to this directive: a European firearms pass is issued by the authorities of a Member State to any person lawfully entering into possession of and using a firearm.
The pass must always be in the possession of the person using the firearm or firearms listed on it.

The arrangements for the acquisition and possession of ammunition shall be the same as those for the possession of the firearms for which it is intended.

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