Gun crime means any crime that involves using a gun, including an imitation gun. You need a licence from the police to buy, own or handle most types of guns.
Different gun crimes
It is a gun crime:
- when victim is shot
- any situation where a gun was fired illegally, whether anyone was injured or not
- when a thief carries a gun during a robbery or burglary
- to intimidate people with a gun, real or imitation
- to carry an unlicensed gun
You must have a licence from the police before you can buy or handle a firearm including air guns (except for very low-powered guns).
It is illegal to sell an imitation firearm to someone under 18 and for a person under 18 to buy one. It is illegal to carry firearms and imitation firearms in a public place without lawful authority or reasonable excuse.
Helping to prevent gun crime
If you have information about gun crime in your area and you're nervous about going to the police, you should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They won't ask for your name or try to trace the number that you're calling from.
A one-on/one-off firearms transaction is an exchange between a firearms certificate-holder and a licensed dealer. They exchange an identical firearm in calibre and type, except gunshot gauge. You must apply to the police and tell them about any one-on/one-off transactions in Northern Ireland.
Applying for a one-on/one-off exchange
You must apply to the police. You can do this online:
For more information about cancelling a firearm certificate or selling or transferring a firearm, go to: