Museum Firearms Licences

AuthorLaura Saunsbury/Nick Doherty

Chapter 17

Museum Firearms Licences

17.01 The F(A)A 1988 introduced provisions enabling the Home Office to issue licences to certain museums authorising them to acquire and possess firearms for exhibition.1The museums to which these arrangements apply are set out in Appendix B.

17.02 An application for a museum licence should be made in writing to the Operational Policing Policy Unit at the Home Office at 50 Queen Anne’s Gate, London SW1H 9AT. There are no rights of appeal against a refusal to grant a licence. It is an offence knowingly or recklessly to make a statement which is false in any material particular in order to obtain the grant, renewal or variation of a licence.2

17.03 A licence will authorise the persons responsible for the management of the museum3and their employees, without holding a firearm or shotgun certificate, to possess, and purchase or acquire,4for the purposes of the museum, firearms and ammunition which are, or are to be normally, exhibited or kept at the museum or in particular parts of it which the licence may specify. A licence may also, in similar terms, cover prohibited weapons and prohibited ammunition5without the need to obtain the Home Office special authority which is normally required.6

1F(A)A 1988, s 19 and Sch.

2F(A)A 1988 Sch, para 4(1)(a). The maximum punishment on summary conviction is 6 months’ imprisonment, or an unlimited fine, or both (F(A)A 1988 Sch, para 4(2)).

3These persons are defined to mean the museum’s board of trustees, governing body or other person or persons (whether or not incorporated) exercising corresponding functions (F(A)A 1988 Sch para 6).

4‘Acquire’ is defined to mean hire, accept as a gift or borrow (FA 1968, s 57(4), F(A)A 1988, s 25(1)).

5For the definitions of ‘prohibited weapons’ and ‘prohibited ammunition’, see Chapter 2.

6F(A)A 1988, Sch para 1(2). As to the special authority, see Chapter 1.

252 The Firearms Law Handbook

17.04 A licence will not be granted or renewed unless the Home Office is satisfied, after consulting the police for the area in which the museum lies, that the arrangements for exhibiting and keeping the firearms and ammunition will not endanger the public safety or the peace.7

17.05 A licence may contain conditions to secure the safe custody of the firearms and ammunition.8The persons responsible for the management of the museum commit an offence if they fail to comply with a condition, or if they cause or...

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