Gaining a licence to hold a firearm is not a straight forward process in the UK so once you have obtained one, you want to ensure that you adhere to all the regulations so that storing your gun is safe and legal. For this reason, here at Latham’s Security Doorsets, we wanted to make sure you were well informed.
‘Under the Firearms Rules 1998, a prescribed safekeeping condition is attached to all firearm and shotgun certificates. It is an offence not to comply with these conditions. The maximum penalty for this offence can be up to 6 months in prison, or a fine, or both. The safekeeping condition attached to firearms or shotgun certificates requires that the guns and section 1 ammunition must be stored securely to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, unauthorised people taking or using them. Any other person who does not hold a firearm or shotgun certificate is included in the term ‘unauthorised’. When a gun or section 1 ammunition is being used or the holder has the gun with him for some purpose connected with its use, transfer or sale, reasonable precautions must be taken for the safe custody of the gun(s) and section 1 ammunition. The condition does not apply to the ammunition for a shotgun. However, as a matter of common sense, you should take reasonable precautions for its safe custody.’
Your local police firearms licensing department can give you advice on security arrangements.
What is ‘secure storage’?
The Firearms Rules do not prescribe how firearms must be kept securely, but the Home Office has issued guidance. Briefly this recommends that you store them in a locked gun cabinet or other similarly secure container. In some cases if you don’t have a gun cabinet, it may be acceptable to remove the firing mechanism from a firearm and store it in a secure container, for example, a safe.
In these cases you should then lock away the rest of the firearm. We understand that safes and gun cabinets can be quite costly individually, and that is why we thought it would be great for you to know that an adequate and legal way of storing your firearm is in a securely built gunroom or cellar with a steel door that locks. Our heavy duty doors, ultra duty doors and stainless steel door range can be used as gun room security doors and will adhere to all legal requirements.
Gun room security doors: cost-effective and secure
With the blank heavy duty security door being the cheapest of these starting at just £149.99 plus VAT you will find that this is actually cheaper than most accredited gun cabinets and safes and may also come in useful to keep other of your valuable items safe within the gun room. The great thing about our security doors is that you can choose more aesthetically pleasing doors if you require them internally in your home, such as our panelled personnel door, at just £189.99 +VAT.
What security level do you need?
When considering whether storage arrangements are secure enough, the police will look at the circumstances of each case and at the overall security arrangements, including the security of the premises where the firearms and ammunition are kept. It may be helpful to think of security in terms of levels that may be applied in any given case.
To this end, three levels of security are generally accepted.
Level 1. This will be applicable in most cases and can be met by using a suitable gun cabinet. Where one firearm only is held, a gun clamp may suffice. Other considerations would be a low crime rate area and whether the property has outer doors and windows fitted with suitable locking devices.
Level 2. This will be applicable where extra security is desirable. This may be because of a high crime rate location, repeat victimisation or that a substantial number of firearms are being held. Additional security would be exit doors fitted with locks to BS3621, an audible intruder alarm covering the area where the guns are stored and possibly splitting the risk by the provision of more than one cabinet.
Level 3. Where the risk is deemed the greatest, then splitting the risk is desirable especially where large numbers of guns are involved. Additional target hardening of the storage cabinet(s) and an audible intruder alarm protecting the whole of the premises may also be considered.
Please note that more detailed information is available from your local police firearms licensing department.
If you do still decide to go with a standard gun cabinet, we thought we would provide you will some more info direct from the local government website so that you know all of your gun room requirements are adequate and legal. Please see this below.
Gun cabinet regulations
As commercially manufactured firearm cabinets are widely available, this will probably be the preferred method of security for most people. There is a British standard for gun cabinets (BS 7558). Before you buy a cabinet you should ask the seller to show you a test certificate to confirm the cabinet meets the above standard. It is not compulsory to have a cabinet that meets the British Standard however, and having such a cabinet does not necessarily guarantee that you are meeting the safekeeping condition.
It is recommended that a cabinet should have the following features:
• It should be made from sheet steel at least 14 SWG (standard wire gauge) (2 mm) thick. All seams should be continuously welded, or the cabinet body formed by bend construction.
• All hinges should be on the inside of the cabinet, but if they are external or exposed, then hinge bolts, blocks or anti-lever bars should be provided.
• Lock mechanisms should be on the inside of the cabinet. The lock should contain at least 5 levers to BS 3621 standard or equivalent. Alternatively, good quality hardened padlocks and staples should be fitted to the cabinet.
• Full-length side hinged cabinets should have two locks at points one third and two-thirds the height of the cabinet.
The cabinet may contain, or have attached, a separate lockable container to store ammunition. Gun clamps for one firearm, an alternative option to a cabinet may be a gun clamp. It should:
• be made out of steel that is at least 14 SWG (2mm) thick;
• have seam-welded joints, or be formed by bend construction; and
• have a lock that meets BS 3621 standard or equivalent. Alter natively a good quality hardened padlock should be fitted. Steel cables in certain circumstances a high tensile steel cable secured with a hardened padlock may be an appropriate security method.
Gun room installation advice
Any security device should be securely fixed to the fabric of the building. For preference it should be in a room or area that does not have direct access to the outside of a building.
• When considering large or heavy gun cabinets, you should consider the load bearing strength of your floors.
• Wherever possible, it should be fixed to a wall that is built from bricks or concrete blocks or to the floor.
• The container should be out of sight (unless the firearm is held for display purposes). If it is in a corner, it is more difficult for a thief to attack it.
• You should avoid fixing the container near any heat source. Barrel blocks and trigger guards Devices such as barrel blocks and trigger guards may provide extra security but not as an alternative to the above.
IMPORTANT: Your local police will consider each case individually, and must look at the overall security in the light of the circumstances in each case. You can contact your police firearms licensing department via the headquarters of your local police force. Further advice can be found in ‘Firearms Law – Guidance to the Police’ and the ‘Firearms Security Handbook’. These documents are available on the Home Office website at www.homeoffice.gov.uk
For cost-effective firearm security, select a steel door for your gun room from our wide range of suitable products.