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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/circular-0142018-limited-extension-of-validity-of-firearm-and-shotgun-certificates/circular-0142018-firearms-limited-extension-of-validity-of-firearm-and-shotgun-certificates
This circular advises of the commencement on 17 April 2018 of section 131 of the Policing and Crime Act 2017. The commencement order is available.
Section 131 of the Policing and Crime Act 2017 inserts new section 28B into the Firearms Act 1968 to provide for limited extensions of the validity of firearm and shotgun certificates in specified circumstances.
The new provisions in section 28B will apply where an application is made to the police for the renewal of a certificate at least 8 weeks before the certificate is due to expire, but the police are unable to decide the application before the certificate expires. In these circumstances, the validity of the certificate is automatically extended for a period of 8 weeks or until the police decide the application, whichever occurs first. The certificate’s terms and conditions will continue to apply during this period
In the event that the application for renewal is subsequently granted, any period for which the certificate continued in force under subsection 28B will be treated for the purposes of section 28A(1) as part of the period for which the renewed certificate is in force, meaning that the total renewal period of a renewed certificate would be 5 years.
In the event that the application for renewal cannot be determined before the extended certificate expires, police forces may continue to issue a temporary permit to the applicant under section 7 of the Firearms Act 1968 authorising their continued possession of firearms and ammunition to which the expired certificate applies. Section 7 permits issued in these circumstances can allow for the continued possession of the firearms and ammunition that are specified on the applicant’s expired certificate but not the acquisition or purchase of additional firearms or ammunition.
These provisions do not apply in relation to the renewal of a certificate granted or last renewed in Northern Ireland.
Changes have been made to the National Firearms Licensing Management System (NFLMS) to support the administration of this provision and to facilitate police forces generating a confirmatory letter to applicants who benefit from an extension under section 28B.
Police forces will want to update related guidance and websites to reflect the introduction of these new arrangements.
Sources of further guidance
The Policing and Crime Act 2017 and explanatory notes
Home Office guide on firearms licensing law
More information on firearms licensing