The Home Office is currently consulting with the public about the cost of firearms licenses.
“It is proposed the fee for a museum firearms licence will be £1,440, and the licence will be valid for five years. The current fee for a museum licence is £200. The renewal fee is to be revised to £1,240, with fees for alterations to valid licences to be changed to between £110 and £780.”
Obviously this would be a huge increase (over 600%) and could hit museums very hard, but does your museum need a license?
Given the large number of military-themed museums in Essex and the social history collections which may contain guns, I have taken advice on this matter from William Brown, National Security Advisor at the Arts Council.
You need a firearms license if your collection contains live firearms, although there is an exception for historic firearms. However, no definition is in place as to what constitutes a “historic firearm”. The decision is made at the discretion of your local police.
If the guns in your collection have been deactivated, you do not need a firearms license.
Your museum is eligible for a firearms license if:
- It has as its purpose, or one of its purposes, “the preservation for the public benefit of a collection of historic, artistic or scientific interest which includes or is to include firearms”
- It is maintained wholly or mainly out of money provided by Parliament or a local authority
- It is Accredited by the Arts Council (nb. This means fully Accredited and not “Working Towards” Accreditation)
If you wish to contribute to the consultation regarding the increase in costs for museum firearms licenses (by over 600%), you can do so here.
The Home Office Guidance on Firearms Licensing Law can be found here.
The Firearms Security Handbook, which includes guidance on museum storage and display of weapons and ammunition, can be found here.
Please do get in touch with me if you have any questions.