In the wake of the killing of a British Member of Parliament Jo Cox, gun violence and laws have become front and center in the United Kingdom. While the United States and the United Kingdom share lots of comparisons, gun laws and regulations are not one of them.
In the United States the Second Amendment guarantees Americans the right to have arms. There are a few laws and regulations, but the Constitution still grants that right. In the United Kingdom, gun ownership is not a right; it is considered a privilege and a very limited one at that.
According to Solicitors
The North East Solicitors in the United Kingdom state that only manually-loaded rifles, shotguns and long-barrelled pistols are allowable and only with a firearm or shotgun certificate. Handguns and semi-automatic rifles are not permitted. A person applying for a certificate in the UK must be at least 18 years old and show that they have a safe space to store any weapon, and either have membership with a sports club or land that is suitable for shooting.
Guide on Firearm Licensing Law
The “United Kingdom’s Guide on Firearm Licensing Law” says that firearm certificate applications are processed by the police, who are supposed to screen applicants by making sure that, they:
- Have a good reason, related to business or leisure, to own a firearm, and are fit to own one. To determine fitness, there is a screening conducted that includes:
- Visit to the applicant’s property
- Criminal background checks
- Personal references
- Possibly contact with the applicant’s physician
For a shotgun certificate, the applicant must submit to four current photographs of themselves and the information of someone who is not a family member who can serve as a “referee” for the police contact regarding the application such as a family solicitor.
So, as you can see, the laws on gun ownership between the United States and the United Kingdom are quite different. And accordingly, so are the stats on shootings. Also, if you are moving to the United Kingdom and you have a large gun collection, you need to talk with a solicitor and they will tell you what steps you need to take to make this collection legal.