The revocation of a Firearms Certificate can cause frustration. Those facing the situation for the first time it is important to know that an appeal can be made within 21 days of the date stated on the letter of notification from the Chief Officer of Police.

The Chief Officer of Police retains the power to revoke a Firearms Certificate if satisfied that the holder is of “intemperate habits or unsound mind”, or where the holder may pose a “danger to the public safety or peace”.

A Shotgun Certificate similarly may be revoked where the holder is said to pose a “danger to the public safety or peace”.

This decision may be based on numerous reasons, such as:

  • A criminal conviction
  • Evidence of alleged criminal behaviour (even where this does not amount to a criminal conviction)
  • Breach of the firearms or shotgun licence conditions
  • Failure to safely secure the firearms
  • Mental health issues
  • Drug and alcohol abuse.

Concerned members of the public can make complaints to the Firearms Licensing Team at the their local police force – this can be controversial given that the Firearms or Shotgun Certificate holder can be vulnerable to false or unsubstantiated complaints.

The fact that a licence holder is innocent of any alleged misconduct may not prevent a revocation and result in the Firearms Licencing Department revoking the certificate. Likewise, the Police can suggest that convictions for offences such as drink driving are sufficient to revoke a shot gun certificate in the first instance.


Process to Appeal the Revocation of a Firearms Certificate

If your certificate has been revoked, you have the right to appeal the decision. The appeal is made to the Crown Court and there are strict deadlines for serving an appeal. Early intervention by a Firearms Appeal Lawyer can help – in the appropriate case written representations with supporting evidence may help in changing the police decision.

Once an appeal is served the Chief of Police is required to serve the evidence on which it based its decision. This will often include a substantial bundle of papers including statements, documents and any other evidence that the police intend to rely upon in court to establish that the firearms certificate should remains revoked.

Having received the prosecution evidence, the Crown Court will set directions, including serving defence evidence. This allows for an opportunity for you to respond to the evidence and serve material to counter the allegations or evidence relied upon by the Chief of Police.

The case is likely to proceed to a full hearing where the evidence is called. The Appeal will be heard at a hearing in the Crown Court, presided over by a Judge and two lay Magistrates. They will decide whether the firearms or shotgun certificate should remain revoked upon the balance of probabilities


Advice and Representation

If you receive a decision to revoke your firearms certificate and wish to appeal the decision, contact a member of the private client team immediately. We can assist by arranging a conference in one of our offices, or remotely through video link.

We will advise you on the law and procedure and next steps to take in successfully appealing the decision. Where appropriate, we can instruct a number of expert barristers in this field to represent you at the Appeal Hearing.


Funding Your Appeal of a revoked firearms license

Where a licence holder has an insurance policy in place legal fees may be covered under the terms of the Policy. Where an insurance policy is not in place, we can provide a competitive fixed fee for all our costs.

There is no legal aid available for shotgun or firearms licensing appeals.

We also offer a fixed fee consultation to assess the merits of your appeal – you can then decide after the initial consultation whether to proceed to the more involved full appeal hearing.


Case Study

Jon Wilkins and Nathan Adams in our Cardiff office recently assisted a client who was facing the revocation of a firearms certificate. Jon and Nathan successfully appealed the decision by The Chief of Dyfed Powys Police to revoke a client’s shotgun and firearms certificates. The decision was based on allegations of criminal behaviour (the client was interviewed by police but not convicted of any offence) and said to have been suffering mental health issues.

It was successfully argued that the evidence relied on by the Chief of Police was outdated and that the client had demonstrated (through his own evidence and documentation) that the initial reasons relied on by the Chief of Police had been resolved. The Judge was therefore of the view that the client had shown he no longer posed a danger to the public safety or peace.

We are happy to take instructions from clients across Wales and England.


Reeds Solicitors is an award winning and leading law firm. For legal advice and representation, please contact us through our contact page here. Alternatively you can phone 0333 240 7373, or email us at