The introduction of the Policing and Crime Act 2017 inserts a new section into the Firearms Act 1968 that provides for an extension of eight weeks to expiring firearm and shotgun certificates in specified circumstances. This allows the licensing department to take extra time to ensure they have made an informed decision on the applicant’s ability to hold a certificate, without having to resort to issuing large numbers of Section 7 Temporary Permits, as the Countryside Alliance has reported is happening all over the country.

The new extension will apply only where an application is made to the police for the renewal of a certificate at least eight weeks before it is due to expire, but the police are unable to decide on the application before the certificate expires. The certificate’s terms and conditions will continue to apply during this period allowing those that require their firearms on a daily basis, such as gamekeepers, to continue with their jobs.

Liam Stokes, Head of Shooting at the Countryside Alliance, said: “The Countryside Alliance pushed hard for an extension to the validity of a certificate if the renewal was submitted on time. This eight-week extension is the result, and although serious problems remain in the firearms licensing system we are pleased that the Government has taken this step to address the backlog in renewals. We look forward to seeing this amendment implemented by forces throughout England and Wales.”