Development work on the database, which was expected to be operational from February 2002, will be stalled from November 2001 to March 2002 while the update is installed.
The delay was announced in a parliamentary written answer by Home Office minister Lord Rooker which said that the firearms database would go live "as soon as possible" following the upgrade.
A spokesman for the Police IT Organisation (Pito) said, "The development timeframe coincides with an essential software upgrade to new-generation technology. It is unfortunate that the scheduling has clashed, but unavoidable."
The database will provide a central register of people who have applied for, or been granted, firearm or shotgun certificates. The register is required under section 39 of the Firearms (Amendment) Act, which came into force in October 1997.
The Pito spokesman added, "Pito is ensuring that ongoing PNC operational service is maintained, new applications are tested so that they will work in the new environment and the firearms database will be readied for eventual upload."