Detailed guide: Apply for or manage a section 5, shooting club or museum licence

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Prohibited weapons and ammunition (section 5) authority

You need a section 5 authority to handle prohibited weapons, component parts and prohibited ammunition. This includes applications:

  • to keep or use heritage pistols under section 7(3) of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988
  • for private maritime security companies

In England and Wales, you should apply online for a new authority or to manage your existing authority.

Applications take around 3 to 6 months to process. Approved section 5 authorities are valid for 3 years. You should apply to renew your authority at least 3 months before it’s due to expire.

You will need:

  • your organisation’s name and details
  • personal details of all authority holders (home address, place and date of birth, and nationality)
  • details of how the prohibited items will be obtained and used
  • the types and quantities of items the authority will cover
  • documents justifying the types and quantities of items requested. This could include contracts, letters of sponsorship, enquiries or invoices
  • addresses for where the items will be stored

What happens next:

We will review your application and contact you if we need more information. We’ll also carry out certain checks, including inspecting any storage arrangements.

For more information, view chapter 3 of the guide on Firearms Licensing Law.

Apply for, renew or amend a section 5 authority if you’re in England or Wales.

Shooting club approval

Shooting clubs in England and Wales should apply online:

  • to set up a new shooting club
  • to renew or amend an existing shooting club approval
  • to add new categories of weapons to an existing approval

Before applying you must meet the criteria for approval. Renewals cost £84 and are valid for 6 years. You should apply to renew your approval at least 3 months before it’s due to expire.

What happens next

We will review your application and contact you if we need more information. We will also carry out certain checks, including inspecting any storage arrangements.

For more information, view chapter 18 of the guide on Firearms Licensing Law

Shooting clubs in Scotland should apply in writing to:

Safer Communities Directorate
Police Powers Unit
St Andrew’s House
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

Museum licence

Museums can apply for a museum licence if they wish to display or store any type of weapon or ammunition for exhibition purposes.

Museums in England and Wales should apply online:

  • for a new museum licence
  • to renew an existing licence
  • to amend an existing licence, such as adding new storage locations

Licences cost up to £200 and are valid for 5 years.

Under a museum licence you can only exhibit or store prohibited weapons and ammunition. If you want to transfer the prohibited items (for example, to loan to another museum) or dispose of them, you’ll need a section 5 authority.

Who can apply

You can only apply for a museum licence if you’re:

  • maintained by Parliament or local government
  • accredited by the Museum, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) or Arts Council England and Wales

You can’t apply for this licence if you’re a non-accredited, privately funded or private collection. Instead you should apply for a firearm or shotgun certificate.

What happens next

We will review your application and contact you if we need more information. We will also carry out certain checks, including inspecting any storage arrangements.

For more information, view chapter 17 of the guide on Firearms Licensing Law.

Apply for or renew a museum firearms licence.

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