Guidance

Apply for or manage a section 5, shooting club or museum licence

Information on how to get firearms licensing, manage weapons for a shooting club or get a museum licence.

Prohibited weapons and ammunition (section 5) authority

You need a section 5 authority to handle prohibited weapons, component parts and prohibited ammunition. This includes applications:

  • to keep or use heritage pistols under section 7(3) of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988
  • for private maritime security companies

When you apply, you will need the following to complete your application:

  • the authority holder and business’s name
  • the Companies House number if relevant (find your Companies House number)
  • details of how the prohibited items will be obtained and used
  • a covering letter that gives:
    • the reasons you need to possess weapons and/or ammunition sought, and any other relevant information.
    • a full explanation of why you need the Secretary of State’s authority. (New applicants should also enclose a business plan that sets out the background, mission and objectives of the business and evidence of prospective trade)
  • additional supporting documents justifying a business need for an s5 authority, for example:
    • current or future contracts
    • invoices from the last 6 months
    • letters of sponsorship from the past 6 months
    • a valid import licence (if applicable)
    • details of third part storage (if applicable)

(These documents will need to cover every item/amount being requested in the authority.)

  • addresses of the business premises where the prohibited items will be stored
  • the types and quantities of prohibited items you want the authority to cover
  • the personal details of one or two named authority holders (home address, date and place of birth and nationality)
  • contact details (including email of main contact if different from the authority holder)

For more information, view chapter 3 of the guide on Firearms Licensing Law.

Shooting club approval

Applications from shooting clubs require Form 124 (PDF, 31.4KB, 2 pages) to be completed by the club and submitted to the local police. The police will then make enquiries on behalf of the Home Office prior to sending the application to us for consideration.

Before applying you must meet the criteria for approval. Renewals cost £84 and are valid for 6 years. You should apply to renew your approval at least 3 months before it’s due to expire

Shooting clubs in the Metropolitan, Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire police force areas only will be able to apply online as part of our trial scheme for online applications.

What happens next

We will review your application and contact you if we need more information. We will also carry out certain checks, including inspecting any storage arrangements.

Shooting clubs in Scotland should apply in writing to:

Safer Communities Directorate
Police Powers Unit
St Andrew’s House
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

Museum licence

Museums can apply for a museum licence if they wish to display or store any type of weapon or ammunition for exhibition purposes.

Museums in England and Wales should apply online:

  • for a new museum licence
  • to renew an existing licence
  • to amend an existing licence, such as adding new storage locations

Licences cost up to £200 and are valid for 5 years.

Under a museum licence you can only exhibit or store prohibited weapons and ammunition. If you want to transfer the prohibited items (for example, to loan to another museum) or dispose of them, you’ll need a section 5 authority.

Who can apply

You can only apply for a museum licence if you’re:

  • maintained by Parliament or local government
  • accredited by the Museum, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) or Arts Council England and Wales

You can’t apply for this licence if you’re a non-accredited, privately funded or private collection. Instead you should apply for a firearm or shotgun certificate.

What happens next

We will review your application and contact you if we need more information. We will also carry out certain checks, including inspecting any storage arrangements.

For more information, view chapter 17 of the guide on Firearms Licensing Law.

Published 19 September 2017
Last updated 15 March 2018 + show all updates
  1. The technical problem with online applications has been resolved.
  2. Our online application service is currently undergoing maintenance, and it is possible that some applications may experience problems during submission. We expect this to be resolved by 15 March.
  3. Clubs in the Metropolitan, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire police force areas can apply online as part of a trial scheme.
  4. Guidance on how to apply updated.
  5. Form for applying for club approval updated.
  6. Updated content
  7. Updated guidance published.
  8. First published.