The new, simpler licence application forms come into effect today, having received praise from shooters and shooting organisations.
A single form will cover grants and renewals for both shotgun and firearms licences, with a short separate form for variations to firearms certificates.
Restrictions have also been removed on how much metallic ammunition shooters can buy at one time, though limits on the maximum number of rounds a shooter can possess are still in force.
On the shotgun side, the requirement for certificate applicants to provide a countersignatory from a limited range of professionally qualified people has been replaced with a simpler referee requirement. The referee may now be drawn from a wider pool.
BASC’s senior firearms officer Mike Eveleigh said: “BASC has been working with the Home Office and the police for some time to modernise the initial application process.
“The UK has some of the toughest gun laws in the world. Those laws must do two things: protect public safety and also allow the continued lawful use of firearms. These changes will remove several layers of unnecessary bureaucracy and make the initial form-filling simpler and easier to understand.”
And Countryside Alliance executive chairman Barney White-Spunner added: “The government and police are to be commended for the work they have done, in collaboration with the shooting community, in making these changes and bringing them to fruition.
“There is still work to be done in updating firearms licensing practice and guidance to both improve efficiency and reduce unnecessary bureaucracy. The Alliance looks forward to continuing to work with them during this process.”