The Firearms Act 1968 regulates firearms possession in the United Kingdom. The Act makes it an offence to possess firearms or ammunition without certification. Such an offence can be heard summarily or on indictment. Punishment for such an offence is imprisonment upwards of months or a fine, or both.
Before authorisation for possession of firearms or explosives is given, a person must be vetted to establish intention and their suitability. Where it is found a person has uncertified possession of firearms or explosives, the police must try to establish the purpose of the possession and will take into account any aggravating factors such as whether or not the firearms were loaded, the person’s criminal history and background.
Definition of Firearms
As defined in the section 57 (1) of the Firearms Act 1968, a firearm is:
“a lethal barrelled weapon of any description from which any shot, bullet or other missile can be discharged”
This includes any prohibited weapon and includes imitation firearms; and any weapon component or accessory designed or adapted to diminish its noise or flash. Imitation firearms will also be treated as a firearm if it has an appearance of a firearm and can be readily converted into a firearm.
The Firearms Act 1968 exempts antique firearms where the purpose is for curiosity or ornamental. However, those previously convicted of a crime are exempted from this and may not possess an antique firearm. The guidance to the Act states the type of pre-1939 weapons which may be classified as antiques and lists the criteria for those which will not benefit from exemption. This includes weapons that have been modified after 1939, and certain calibres of revolvers, single-shot pistols and rifles. Other factors about the nature of the weapon that may be taken into account include whether the weapon is a muzzle load or centre fire (centre fire firearms are more likely to be used as a weapon). If any criminal use of an antique weapon is alleged, this can be evidence that the weapon is not possessed for the purpose of curiosity or ornament. Other factors will also help the court determine if the weapon is an ornament such as whether the weapon was hidden or on display, or whether the person was also possession of live ammunition suitable for the weapon could also determine the intention of the firearm. Each case will be examined on its merits.
The Firearms Act 1968 creates many other offences relating to firearms or explosives, such as those for the unauthorised trading of firearms; conversion of firearms/ shortening of shotguns. The Act also makes it an offence to possession or distribute a weapon capable of discharging a noxious thing. This means that pepper sprays are illegal in the UK, something that foreign visitors may not be aware of.
Firearms Offences Legal Advice
If you have been charged with a firearm offence, it is important to act quickly and seek advice with a specialist solicitor. Our top priority is our clients, and we ensure we leave no stone unturned in examining every detail of each case we handle. We fully understand that a conviction for any criminal offence can have a major impact on your life and career, whether there is a risk of a prison sentence or not. You need a solicitor who will give you the time and attention you need to understand the law and procedures that are relevant to you. At Stephen Lickrish, we are proud of our ability to give clear advice tailored to the individual client. We work tirelessly at every stage of a case to achieve the best outcome possible, whether that’s a not guilty verdict at trial or a good sentence on a guilty plea.
Firearms Certificates Appeals
If you have had your firearm certificate revoked or have been refused a renewal, get in touch with our solicitors. We can appeal to the Crown Court on your behalf to give you the best possible chance of success. There is only 21 days from the day your certificate was revoked or renewal refused, so do act quickly. We can help you build a robust case for appeal to give you the best outcome available to you. Get in touch with our team of expert firearms solicitors today to discuss your case.
Firearm Offences Solicitors in Manchester, London, Birmingham, England & Wales
If you have been accused of a firearms offence, or if you wish to know where you stand in relation to a firearms issue, contact us today. We specialise in serious crime, firearm offences and terrorism offences. Regardless of where you are in the country, our solicitors have experience and dedication to help you through what can be a complex and difficult process.
Offering specialist advice and representation on firearms cases, Stephen Lickrish & Associates Solicitors in Manchester, London, Birmingham, England & Wales can help. Contact us today by calling us at 0161 237 1913 or on 0800 988 64 22 for 24-hour legal advice. Alternatively, contact us by filling out an enquiry form.