FAC Help

HO Guide on Firearms Licensing Law

FAC suggested wording

We constantly get asked by both Police forces and members for suitable wording for shotguns on FACs. We have suggested the following wording to the Home Office:

The shotguns to which this certificate relates may be used in recognised practical target shooting disciplines, as a member of a relevant club or recognised association and where the holder has permission to shoot with that class of firearm.

The 12 gauge solid slug ammunition to which this certificate relates shall be used only on ranges in respect of which a range safety certificate specifically authorises use of same or on other land over which the holder has permission to shoot with that class of firearm and ammunition type.

Regarding amounts of slug: we suggest 300 held, 250 to buy.

Reasons:

Slug only matches – 120+ targets
Standard match course of fire: 28 targets, 2 hits required for each paper target.
Amount of cartridges must allow for:

  1. Sighting in.
  2. Re-shoots because of range equipment failure.
  3. Misses. Number of targets does not necessarily correlate with number of cartridges required!

If you also want to use your S1 SG for clay shooting you must get this purpose added.

 


What does “a course of fire approved by a duly qualified member” mean?
Do you have a condition similar to this on your FAC?

“over a course of fire approved by a duly qualified member of the United Kingdom Practical Shooting Association on land over which the holder has permission to shoot for that purpose with that class of firearm.”

Despite our recommendation (see following extracts of letter to the FCC, particularly point 15) some Police Forces are still putting the above condition on individual FACs. As members do, therefore, require a definition of a ‘duly qualified member’ the UKPSA Council’s definition is:

“A qualified UKPSA member is a person, who by dint of their unstinting service to the UKPSA has been granted Life membership, or has paid for Life membership, and that this has not been revoked by the UKPSA Executive Council or someone who has completed, and has had accepted, a membership application form with the appropriate joining fee, has paid the current year’s fee and has not had their membership revoked by the UKPSA Executive Council.”

To make the UKPSA’s position on this totally unambiguous, the UKPSA remit does not extend to approving cof’s at club level and this condition is not accepted nor supported by the UKPSA in any interpretation that implies that the UKPSA is responsible for cof’s at club level.

The UKPSA does not have a specific training course for cof approval at any level. Graded Match cof’s are approved by a process and this process would not be applicable, nor would it be appropriate, at club level.

Our view is that this condition means that any UKPSA member can approve a cof at club level but this approval is not accepted nor sanctioned by the UKPSA. It can also be interpreted that a cof that has been ‘approved’ for club level use by a UKPSA member, or used in a graded match or training course, can be replicated by non-members for use, even when a UKPSA member may not be present.

It should also be noted that perfectly acceptable and safe courses of fire may be devised for target practice, including those used in UKPSA training courses, that may not be suitable for incorporation within a graded match.

Essex Police have taken the initiative and produced a guideline document – PSG: A Basic Overview and Policy on ‘Good Reason’ –  which should give, if generally adopted, a consistency hitherto lacking. Whilst we do not agree with all the interpretations it does provide a framework which should not detract from the operation of the sport. Specifically see point 4.2.

The following letter was in response to the two GCN members of the FCC reopening ‘good reason’ for multi-shot shotguns.

15th April 1999

GOOD REASON FOR SECTION 1 LARGE MAGAZINE CAPACITY SHOTGUNS FOR TARGET SHOOTING

We are in receipt of a fax from Mr Richard Worth, Secretary to the Firearms Consultative Committee, dated 6th April regarding the subject of Practical Shotgun and whether or not it should remain “good reason” for the possession of a Section 1 shotgun.

Firstly, we should make it clear that the UKPSA is the governing body for all International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) disciplines in the U.K. We cannot speak on behalf of any other association or body who may purport to represent or administer other forms of “practical shooting” in the U.K

Turning to the subject of good reason, firstly we refer to a letter (copy enclosed) from Mr Peter Vallance of the Home Office, dated 3rd February 1989 wherein he stated that practical shotgun should be included in paragraph 6.8(f) of the Guidance To the Police.

In the Firearms Consultative Committee’s various reports dated 1990, 1991 and 1998, the subject of “good reason” is yet again addressed under the following sections:

 

1990 – Section 5.2

1991 – Section 6.4

1998 – Section 11.9

In all of the above reports it is clearly stated that Practical Target Shooting constitutes “good reason”. It is interesting to note that in the 1998 report under “Good Reason” the following statement was made :

“The Committee welcomes the decision by the Home Office and the police to accept membership of a relevant organisation (in practice, the U.K. Practical Shooting Association) as “good reason to possess a large magazine shotgun. The Committee believes that further discussion between the police, the Home Departments and the UKPSA would be helpful in establishing the scope of suitable shooting disciplines and to ensure that proper regulation of practical shooting continues to develop.”

This statement, we believe, strongly underlines and supports the development of responsible practical shotgun shooting in this country. We would welcome the suggestion of further discussion with the Home Office and other relevant bodies.

There are other organisations and bodies that have an interest in practical target shooting. As we are generally unfamiliar with their activities we cannot comment on their operations. We can only draw parallels in other disciplines using other reputable organisations. A shooter may wish to shoot clay pigeon and may choose BASC to be his representative association instead of the CPSA. At the moment, because of restrictive conditions being placed on Firearms Certificates by some police forces, they are forcing certificate holders to join the UKPSA. Whilst the Association always welcomes new members, we feel that it is better to attract voluntary members rather than forcing people to join our Association for whatever reason. Our existing members are committed to an Association that promotes an extensive competition calendar and in the ethos of UKPSA/IPSC Practical Shooting.

We feel that it may be prudent to suggest some alternatively worded conditions that may be imposed on the use of Section 1 shotguns for practical target shooting. The existing conditions used by many police forces are almost unworkable. Take, for example, the condition ???. “over a course of fire approved by a duly qualified member of the United Kingdom Practical Shooting Association on land over which the holder has permission to shoot for that purpose with that class of firearm.” ???. You will note from our enclosed documents that there is no such thing as an approved course of fire except at Level 2 and above National League Competitions. Therefore this condition effectively makes it impossible to practice Practical Shotgun as a member of a club and would only allow the certificate holder to compete in competitions. In effect, this clause does not work. Our suggestions are as follows :

“The shotguns to which this certificate relates may be used in recognised practical target shooting disciplines, as a member of a relevant club or recognised association and where the holder has permission to shoot with that class of firearm.” ???.“The 12 gauge solid slug ammunition to which this certificate relates shall be used only on ranges in respect of which a range safety certificate specifically authorises use of same or on other land over which the holder has permission to shoot with that class of firearm and ammunition type.”Whilst live quarry shooting does not form any part of our interest and discipline as an association, we unhesitatingly endorse the use of Section 1 shotguns for pest and predator control. Additionally we see no reason to restrict their use to specific activities and believe that other additional uses, e.g. Clay Target Shooting, should be permitted.

Should you require any further information or feel that a face to face meeting may be beneficial, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Yours faithfully,

Graham Gill F.Inst. S.M., M.C.F.A.
Chairman
United Kingdom Practical Shooting Association


 

FAC up for renewal?

We are now getting feedback from members on the sort of questions that are being asked, and the general direction of the inquiries, at home visits for FAC/SGC renewal, grant or variation.

No great surprises and unlikely to cause difficulties – unless you are a drug dealing alcoholic wife beater who keeps his guns under the bed and uses car headlights for target practice. Ah!

To the boring bits:

All convictions must be disclosed even including minor traffic offences.

The officer will be taking a view as to whether you will be a danger to the public, that you of sound mind, that you do not drink to excess or take drugs and that generally you are the sort of person who can be trusted with guns.

You will have to provide good reason for each gun and you may be asked for this in writing if you have, or wish to acquire, more than four guns.

Your pattern of ammunition purchase will be examined, so your good reason can be demonstrated, and you may be questioned on home loading. If you wish to acquire levels of over 500, this will be questioned as to the reason.

You will be questioned over the land where you shoot (if applicable) and that you have suitable permission and the land may be checked for its suitability. You will be asked if you are a full member of a Home Office approved club. That club’s shooting disciplines will be checked, as will your membership, and that you are generally a good egg.

For SGCs, good reason will be checked – the land, membership of a clay pigeon club and the details of SGs possessed will be noted.

Security – gun cabinets or alternatives, general security and cabinet locations, ammo storage, alarm – central station or not. If 10+ guns then they do rather like alarms. You should also note that no other member of your household should have access to your firearms. That especially means they should not be told where the keys to the cabinets are kept.

They will check to see that referees are fit and proper and that they fully appreciate their commitment.

The officer, as you would hope from a trained professional, will be observant. Your domestic circumstances, personal history, friends, firearms experience, gun handling and general attitude and whether you were helpful; all will be noted.

Info here on the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003: Firearms

Insurance

Our Employer’s Liability Certificate and the Policy document can be obtained by request from the Secretary.

The brokers are Endsleigh.

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