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Do you have a deactivated firearm in your possession? Read on and stay within the law

Brexit delays have forced new firearms legislation

Webley pistol

Though it looks in good order, this .32 Webley pistol has been deactivated and cannot be fired

All owners of deactivated weapons will now need to ensure that they notify the Home Office. From 12 December it will be a legal requirement to register the transfer of deactivated weapons with the Home Office. Notification of the possession of deactivated weapons will be staggered. Those acquired after September 2018 will require immediate notification, with all other deactivated weapons requiring notification come March 2021

Owners who do not comply could end up with a criminal record and fine of up to £200.

What is a deactivated firearm?

  • A deactivated firearm needs to have been welded and made incapable of firing a shot, following Home Office guidelines.
  • Deactivated firearms are often owned by collectors, those taking part in military re-inactments, museums and theatres.
  • Deactivated firearms are not part of the UK shotgun and firearms certification procedure and so it is unknown how many are in existence. Only the London and Birmingham proof houses inspect and stamp deactivated UK firearms before they are deleted from police databases.

Deactivated weapons law result of delayed Brexit

The new firearms legislation on deactivated weapons is a result of the UK’s delayed exit from the EU. It has been taken directly from the EU Firearms Directive which was initiated following terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015.  Previously deactivated weapons were not part of gun licensing laws but the EU was concerned about former Eastern European deactivated firearms being reactivated relatively easily and then used in crime.

Matthew Perring, BASC’s senior firearms officer, said: “The UK government has tried to hold off applying the Firearms Directive requirements, however Brexit delays means implementation was mandatory.”

“Specific details about the deactivated weapons notification scheme and what information is required has yet to be published by the Home Office. ”

However BASC states that it is in communication with the Home Office to gain a full understanding of what is required and when.  Updates will be given as they are published by the Home Office.

Already reservations are being voiced about how the Home Office will store and maintain such a large quantity of information.

Firearms and shotgun statistics

  • A total of 591,000 people held firearm and/or shotgun certificates in March 2019
  • Home Office statistics estimate that the number grows about 1% annually
  • National Firearms Licensing Management System (NFLMS) also covered 1.97 million legally owned firearms and shotguns in March 2019.