Citation(s) from the literature library

Northern Ireland. 2005 ‘Security of Firearms and Ammunition (Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private).’ Guidance on Northern Ireland Firearms Controls 2005; Sections 1-5, 46-52 (Appendix 10), pp. 118-119, 126-128. Belfast: Northern Ireland Assembly. 1 February

Relevant contents

Security of Firearms and Ammunition

1. This Appendix provides information about the secure keeping of firearms and
ammunition, referring to other sources of more detailed information where appropriate. It sets out the security issues which the Chief Constable will consider when dealing with certificate applications or variations and which will be reflected in the safe keeping conditions which will appear on a firearm certificate ie "The firearms and ammunition to which this certificate relates must be securely stored at all times (except when the firearm or ammunition is in use, or being cleaned, repaired, tested, or in transit) so as to prevent unauthorised access, so far as is reasonably practicable. The minimum acceptable standard of storage must equate to BS7558 (1992). Gun cabinets must be secured to the fabric of the building". Paragraph 42 provides advice on firearms and ammunition being conveyed in a vehicle.

2. The certificate holder must take reasonable precautions for the safe custody of the firearms or ammunition. Further detail is set out below and in the "Firearm Security Handbook" published by the Home Office in 2000 and the "Firearms Security: Notes for Guidance 2000" produced jointly by the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers.

Where a firearm or ammunition is stolen and the subsequent police investigation shows that the theft was the result of the absence of or inadequate security provision the revocation of the firearm certificate will be considered.

Secure Storage

3. The "Firearms Security: Notes for Guidance 2000" referred to above provides advice on security measures appropriate to different types of firearms and ammunition in different circumstances. The Chief Constable takes cognisance of this guidance in the interests of consistency.

4. As with all aspects of crime prevention, the police must examine the individual circumstances of each case and the overall security arrangements which will be in place. The level of security should be proportionate to the risk, each case must be judged on its merits and their advice should be balanced, reasonable and comprehensive.

Factors which the Chief Constable will consider

5. These may include the following -

(a) A risk assessment based on the level of property crime in the area. This might be obtained from the local police. This may be subject to sudden temporary changes and it is helpful to look at the longer-term trends of property crime in an area, which is a more important factor. The incidence of firearm theft in the area might also be a factor;
(b) The remoteness or otherwise of the property and the likely response time to calls for assistance, either by police or neighbours;
(c) Whether the property is overlooked and/or illuminated. These are significant factors in deterring burglars;
(d) The extent to which the property is occupied or left unoccupied;
(e) The location of storage points within the property and where appropriate the distribution of firearms within each secure point;
(f) The attractiveness of the type of firearms to criminals. For example, modern multi-shot handguns may be more attractive to criminals than shotguns, which would in turn be more attractive than rifles or older types of firearm. Muzzle-loading firearms, whether original or reproduction, are not generally considered attractive to criminals;
(g) The number of firearms held;
(h) Whether it is generally known that firearms are stored on the premises…


46. Cabinets, which may be considered to be suitable for the security of the firearms and ammunition should be expected to provide resistance equal to -

(a) a cabinet manufactured and fitted as certified to comply with BS7558:1992; or
(b) a cabinet fabricated to the following specification -

Sheet steel body of not less than 2.5 mm (14 swg), formed by either folding, continuous welding or a combination of these methods.

When fabricating the body, the door case should be constructed to provide a continuous rest plate the length of the opening edge to prevent the insertion of hacksaw blades to attack the lock bolts.

The doorframe may be formed by return bending of the body steel or the provision of a bar or angle frame, welded to the carcass with sufficient relief to the edges to provide for door locking and hanging. The frame should be designed so that the door, when closed, can resist attempts to force it inwards.

Doors should be formed from the same material with either bent, folded or post formed edges, or the provision of a bracing frame of bar or angle steel, or ribs welded to the inside of the door to prevent the flexing or bending of the door when closed.

47. Doors should be hung on -

(a) hinges internally fitted.
(b) hinges externally fitted, with either hinge bolts, anti-bar plates or interlocking formed door edge along the hanging edge of the door.
(c) swivel bars or rods with return fold anti-bar plate. The frame should be fabricated to prevent, so far as possible, the insertion of tools to cut the pins.
(d) at least two steel pins of 12 mm diameter or full width welded steel foot plate not less than door thickness - for slot in type doors.

48. Doors should be secured by -
(a) locks to BS3621 or 7 lever safe locks with not less than 38 mm x 9 mm cross section steel bolts.
(b) locks in the approved list under HELA Tech Doc 26/5.
(c) locks specified above should be mounted on steel brackets or pockets, providing strength equal to that of the door and welded to the door.
(d) padlocks not less than grade 4 of the draft CEN 12320:1997. Close shackle should be selected on open ring or plate staples.

49. Hinged full length doors for rifles and shotguns should be fitted with two locking devices fitted at points to divide the locking edge into equal parts. On slide in, fully braced doors, the number and location of the lock(s) will be determined by the extent of flexing in the door.

50. Padlocks should have steel staples, hasp/staple or padbars fabricated to equate to the protective strength of the lock. Provision of at least 4 fixing holes to take not less than 10 mm diameter fastening devices. The holes should be spaced to provide maximum binding of cabinet to structure. When ammunition or firing mechanisms are to be kept separate from the firearms, a smaller
cabinet of similar construction or a separately lockable container, either as an extension of the cabinet or internally fabricated, can be used.


51. Commercially manufactured safes may be considered suitable for the securing of firearms. Even early models, if tight and in good condition, can provide physical protection that would be above that expected on a cabinet constructed to BS7558. The following should be considered as appropriate -

(a) Safes weighing less than one tonne should be secured to the floor in accordance with the instructions of the manufacturer or a safe engineer.
(b) Safes have a considerable floor loading implication and advice must be sought for any proposal to fit a safe on other than a solid ground floor.
(c) To protect those safes with thinner plate backs, they must always be installed with the back against a solid wall or be built into a wall or recess to prevent attack at the rear.
(d) Where the safe is secured by driven boltwork, a single key lock or dial lock (either combination or digital) is often provided. Unless there is some particular requirement, double locking would not be necessary.

52. Information on other security provisions is contained in the "Firearm Security Handbook".

ID: Q6856

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