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Deactivated guns – just how has the law changed?

An owner of deactivated guns needs an update

deactivated Lee Enfield gun

Q: I have a number of deactivated guns that I am told that I will now have to register. Does this mean I need to get a firearm or shotgun certificate?

The latest deactivated guns law

A: No, but the new rules, which came into force on 12 December 2019 because we had not left the EU, promise to be a glorious muddle. From 12 December you are required to notify all transfers of deactivated weapons and to notify the Home Office of those you possess. But it’s not that simple. If you are in any doubt send in the notification as it costs nothing and is easily done. The Home Office, not the police, are responsible for operating the new system. You can find the full details, including the relevant forms, on the department’s website.

A few things to know about

There are several issues on deactivated guns law, however:

• The new rules do not apply to weapons deactivated before 8 April 2016. However, existing legislation means that in order to transfer a deactivated weapon within the UK or EU it must be deactivated to the latest standard, even if you don’t have to notify the transfer
• Nor do the transfer notification rules apply to weapons acquired before 14 September 2018
• Apart from that you must notify the Home Office of any transfer (sale, gift, or let on hire for more than 14 days) of deactivated weapons made after 12 December 2019. The notification form is in a Word document and you can either post or email it. The recipient of the deactivated weapon is not required to inform the Home Office provided they are satisfied that the transferor did so.
• You must notify the Home Office of all the deactivated weapons you possess. For weapons acquired between 8 April 2016 and 14 September 2018 you have until 14 March 2021 to make the notification.