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Shotgun Safety

Disclaimer

The following information is presented by H.E.C Showman limited in good faith. It is our interpretation of certain aspects of the legislation covering licensing of shotguns within England and Wales but should not be taken as a complete or definitive statement of the law. If you are in any doubt you should refer to a solicitor specializing in firearms law, or the Firearms Licensing officer of your local Police force. Northern Ireland, Scotland and other locations such as the Isle of Man and Channel Islands are not covered by the following information. Specialist help should be sought for any queries in these areas.

Please read these shotgun safety tips.

General advice and guidance.

Further reading is available in a PDF (1.8Mb) regarding shotgun security. Also, a PDF (2.4Mb) on Firearm security.

Transporting your shotgun safely.

Always keep your shotgun in its case or cover whilst transporting it and never transport a loaded shotgun.

If staying away from home overnight, your shotgun should be stored, preferably with a Registered Firearms Dealer or in a secure cabinet of another suitable certificate holder.

If it is absolutely necessary to leave your shotgun in a vehicle, it must be stored out of sight, preferably in the locked boot. Consider taking a small part of the weapon, such as the fore-end, with you and always ensure that you lock the vehicle securely. If this is to be a regular habit, consider having a lockable metal storage case welded inside the vehicle's boot.

Remember, leaving your shotgun in the care of a hotel or guest house patron, even in their safe, may expose them to being in unlawful possession of a shotgun, unless they are also certificate holders.

When applying for the grant of a Shotgun or Firearm certificate it may be best to do nothing in relation to security, until a Firearms Enquiry Officer has paid you a visit. Part of the reason for the visit, is to assess your domestic security and, maybe, give advice on what improvements will be necessary to allow you to keep weapons at home. The Firearms Acts are not specific regarding security except to state that the weapons must be kept safe and secure at all times, so as to prevent, as far as is reasonably practical, unauthorized access.

However, before granting you a certificate, the Chief Officer of Police needs to be satisfied that you can store them safely. It therefore follows that the issuer of the certificate must set the standards to be met, within the limitations of the Acts.

When it comes to domestic security another British Standard is used as a guide. That is BS8220 (Security of Domestic Dwellings), which is the level of security normally required by reputable Insurance Companies for house contents cover.

It is believed that the security of the weapon is second only to the vetting of the applicant. If it requires a British Standard to insure that your jewellery and valuables are safe, then it is not too much to expect Shotguns and Firearms to be kept at the same level of security.

You will not be asked to turn your home into a fortress; only to meet a standard of security which modern day requirements deem necessary to keep one's ordinary possessions safe. Basically, BS8220 requires the fitting of a five lever mortice dead lock (to BS3621) to the final exit door (normally the front door). All accessible opening windows which offer an aperture large enough to be climbed through, should be capable of being locked with a removable key. Rear doors should be secured by mortice or slide bolts and patio doors fitted with anti-lift bolts.

Many people in the past have spent unnecessarily regarding security. It will undoubtedly be best to await the visit of an Enquiry Officer, who will give you all the necessary advice, to allow you to keep your weapons safely at home.

Advice on where to site your shotgun cabinet.

Layers and levels of security: