Sadly in the UK there has for several years been a growing and vocal opposition to the legitimate use and enjoyment of shooting as a sport, pastime and livelihood. Pressure has been brought to bear on the police to revoke shotgun and firearm certificates for the slightest misdemeanour or indiscretion.
Ison Harrison specialise in firearm and shot gun licensing appeals. If your certificate has been revoked by the Police, we can lodge an appeal and argue in court for your certificate to be returned.
A certificate can be immediately revoked by the Chief Officer of the police for the following reasons:
- The holder is of intemperate habits or unsound mind or otherwise unfit to be entrusted with a firearm (firearms licence only)
- The holder can no longer be permitted to hold a firearm or shotgun without danger to the public safety or the peace (firearm or shotgun licence)
Typical ‘intemperate habits’ include criminal convictions, evidence of drug or alcohol misuse and domestic violence incidents.
Where ‘unsound mind’ is alleged, the police will usually rely on medical evidence suggesting a risk to members of the public or the licence holder themselves due to unpredictable behaviour, attempted suicide or detention under the Mental Health Act.
‘Public safety’ cases usually involve evidence of the unsafe handling or storage of firearms or allegations of criminal behaviour or association with others known to be engaged in criminal activity.
When the certificate is revoked, the firearms named on the certificate are usually seized. If they are not, but an order is made for them to be surrendered to the police, they must be handed over. It is a criminal offence not to comply with a notice to hand over a firearm or shotgun.
Any person who has had a firearm or shotgun certificate revoked has the right to appeal the decision. The appeal is to the Crown Court and the hearing is held before a full-time judge.
When an appeal is brought, the revocation will not be suspended, but seized firearms can be released to an authorised licensed person. We know that shot guns and firearms are valuable and easily damaged and we will try to ensure that any firearms are released.
The appeal must be lodged within 21 days. We advise that the appeal should be lodged immediately and a detailed statement of case and supporting evidence served later.
At the appeal strict rules on evidence do not apply and the judge can take into account any evidence before them and make whatever decision they see fit.
Each case is different, and ultimately the outcome will largely depend upon the facts of the case, the quality of the evidence and the impression that the judge forms of the licence holder and the Chief Officer.
We will ensure that evidence is presented clearly and logically and the case is argued skilfully and thoroughly.
Members of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association (CPAS) can take advantage of legal expenses insurance cover which covers the costs of an appeal. If you are a member of a club or association please contact us and we will make the necessary arrangements for you.
Legal Aid is not available for shotgun or firearms licensing appeals.
Other Steps to Take
We suggest attempting to arrange a meeting with the Chief Officer to discuss the case. The offer might well be refused, but the efforts made can be relied upon in court and will reflect well on the certificate holder.
We also suggest inviting the police to review their decision when any significant event occurs prior to the appeal hearing.
If your licence has been revoked you can continue to shoot, but must only do so in the same way as those who do not hold a certificate. If you wish to discuss the circumstances in which you can continue to shoot without a certificate please contact Ison Harrison.