The Gun Licence Act is generally considered by scholars as a revenue measure and not "gun control" as imagined today.
Most Gracious Sovereign,
We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in Parliament assembled, towards raising the necessary supplies to defray Your Majesty's public expenses, and making an addition to the public revenue, have freely and voluntarily resolved to give and grant unto Your Majesty the rate and duty herein-after mentioned; and do therefore most humbly beseech Your Majesty that it may be enacted; and be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
This Act may be cited as "The Gun Licence Act, 1870."
In this Act the term "gun" includes a firearm of any description and an air gun or any other kind of gun from which any shot, bullet, or other missile can be discharged.
The term "Commissioners" means the Commissioners of Inland Revenue.
After the first day of April one thousand eight hundred and seventy there shall be granted and paid unto and for the use of Her Majesty, her heirs and successors, for and in respect of every licence to be taken out yearly by every person who shall use or carry a gun in the United Kingdom the sum of ten shillings.
The said duty and licence shall be an excise duty and licence, and shall be under the management of the Commissioners, and all the provisions in any Act relating to excise duties or licences or to penalties under Excise Acts, and now or hereafter in force, shall apply to the said duty hereby granted, and the licence relating thereto, and the penalties hereby imposed, so far as the same are applicable and not inconsistent with the express provisions of this Act.
Every licence to be granted under this Act shall be in such form and shall be granted by such officer of inland revenue and at such place as the Commissioners shall direct, and shall contain the Christian and surname and place of residence of the person to whom the same shall be granted, and shall be dated on the day on which the same shall be granted, and shall expire on the thirty-first day of March next following; but no licence under this Act shall be granted upon payment of a less sum than the duty for a whole year, nor shall any such licence be transferable.
Every officer who shall grant licences under this Act shall keep a register of all such licences granted by him, specifying the Christian and surname and place of residence of every person licensed, and the date of each licence, and any justice of the peace or officer of constabulary or constable, or any person licensed under this Act, may at any convenient time inspect such register of licences for the current or preceding year.
Every person who shall use or carry a gun elsewhere than in a dwelling-house or the curtilage thereof without having in force a licence duly granted to him under this Act shall forfeit the sum of ten pounds;
Provided always, that the said penalty shall not be incurred by the following persons; namely,
In any information for the recovery of the penalty imposed by this section, it shall be sufficient to allege that the defendant used or carried a gun without having a licence in force under this Act, and it shall lie upon the defendant to prove that he is a person not incurring the penalty by virtue of the proviso contained in this section.
Where a gun is carried in parts by two or more persons in company, each and every one of such persons shall be deemed to carry the gun.
It shall be lawful for any officer of inland revenue or for any officer of constabulary or any constable to demand from any person using or carrying a gun (not being a person in the naval, military, or volunteer service of Her Majesty, or in the constabulary or other police force, using or carrying a gun in the performance of his duty) the production of a licence granted to such person under this Act.
If the person upon whom the demand is made shall not produce a licence duly granted to him under this Act, or a licence or certificate to kill game granted to him under the laws of excise, and permit the officer or constable demanding the production thereof to read such licence or certificate, it shall be lawful for such officer or constable to require such person to declare to him immediately his Christian and surname and place of residence, and if such person shall refuse to declare his Christian and surname and place of residence as aforesaid, he shall for such refusal forfeit the penalty of ten pounds over and above any penalty to which he may be liable under this or any other Act of Parliament; and it shall be lawful for such officer or constable to arrest such person so refusing, and to convey him before any justice of the peace having jurisdiction at the place where the offence shall be committed, and such justice shall, upon due proof on oath of the offence, or upon the confession of the accused person, convict such person in the penalty aforesaid, or in some mitigated portion thereof, not being less than one fourth; and if such penalty be not immediately paid into the hands of the officer or constable (who is hereby required to receive and pay over the same to the Commissioners), such justice shall commit the offender to hard labour in the proper house of correction for any period not exceeding one month nor less than seven days, or until the penalty shall be sooner paid.
It shall be lawful for any officer of inland revenue, officer of constabulary, or constable, who may see any person using or carrying a gun to enter and remain so long as may be necessary upon any lands or upon any premises (other than a dwelling-house or the curtilage thereof) for the purpose of making the demand specified in the preceding section.
If any person having obtained a licence under this Act shall be convicted of any offence under section thirty of the Act of the first and second years of King William the Fourth, chapter thirty-two, or under the Act of the second and third years of King William the Fourth, chapter sixty-eight, the said licence shall thenceforth be null and void.
No licence granted under this Act shall entitle the person to whom the same is granted to use, carry, or have in his custody or possession any firearm in any part of the United Kingdom where such person is by any other Act now or hereafter in force forbidden to use, carry, or have in his custody or possession any firearm, nor to entitle such person to use, carry, or have in his custody or possession any firearm unless he shall have obtained a licence or permission so to do from any authority empowered by any such other Act to grant such licence or permission.