No public subsidy of shotgun licences

Did you know that we taxpayers subsidise the true cost of shotgun licences?

Funding for police forces in England and Wales comes from us, the taxpayer.

Forces have complained for years about underfunding.

Yet one of the police’s duties is to administer shotgun licences.

Under UK law anyone who wants to possess, buy or acquire a firearm or shotgun must have a firearms certificate issued by the police. They must also have a certificate to buy ammunition.

But to make an assessment that an individual should be allowed to have a shotgun under the Firearms Act. costs the police time and resources.

Far more than the cost of the licence itself!

Every year campaigners, police forces and Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) say that licences are too cheap and are being subsidised by taxpayers.

  • In August 2021, Plymouth resident Jake Davison shot and killed five people and injured two others before shooting himself. Six months later an information request revealed that Devon and Cornwall Police was spending around £630,000 each year processing firearm applications – but Davison was still allowed to own guns.
  • In October 2021 West Midlands PCC Simon Foster said that his force was left with a £170,000 loss from processing firearms licences and certificates and was effectively subsidising gun ownership.

Despite this in October 2021 shooting lobby group BASC guided its members on how to respond to question in a survey by the Association of Police and Crime Commissioner’s (APCC) on firearms licensing in England and Wales.

The APPC asked: “As a member of the public, do you think that all of the costs incurred by the police and by medical practitioners in processing a firearms licence or shotgun certificate should be met by the applicant?”

The BASC guidance: No. Firearms licensing is a service to the wider public to ensure public safety. This is not subsidising certificate holders, rather it is the public investing in a process which contributes to their wider protection from harm.” 

Rather than raise the cost of a licence so that the gun owner pays the full cost, the government is proposing to play with the statistics instead – by changing how long the licence lasts from five to ten years!

One police check, and that’s it for a decade!

How does that contribute to BASC’s bizarre assertion of the ‘wider protection from harm’?

Energy, rent, food. The cost everything is going up two-, three-, five-fold, but the cost of a firearm licence in 2022 is £88 – an increase of just 43% in over two decades.

 A shotgun licence costs even less – just £79.50!

 Want both a firearm licence AND a shotgun licence? A coterminous certificate as it is called will cost you just £90.


The shooting industry causes untold harm to millions of animals, is underpinned by wildlife crime, and is damaging to the environment – it is an insult to make us support it financially as well!

Shotgun owners themselves should pay the full cost of licencing, not the taxpayer. And that the cost should mean – at a minimum – that police checks can be made every five years as now.

Take action

Send a letter to the UK's Home Secretary - direct from our website straight to their inbox...

You can get involved and send a letter to the UK’s Home Secretary to make it a legal requirement that shotgun owners themselves should pay the full cost of licencing, not the taxpayer.

Click the link below to send the letter direct from our website to their inbox.

Shooting Petitions and Demands

Add pheasants to
Alien Species Order
Ban shooting of
Red-listed birds
No public subsidy of
Shotgun Licenses
No grouse moor
'Licensing Lifeline'
Register all animals
Trapped or Snared