Preface xiii
Table of Cases xvii
Table of Statutes xxiii
Table of Statutory Instruments xxxv
Table of European Material xxxix
Table of Other Material xli
List of Abbreviations xliii

1 General Definitions 1

Introduction 1
Definition of ‘firearm’ 2
The core of the definition 2
Lethal 2
Barrelled 3
Weapon 3
A shot, bullet or other missile 4
Can be discharged 4
Airsoft guns 4
Particular additions to the definition 4
Component parts of firearms 5
Accessories to firearms 6
Deactivated firearms 7
Definition of ‘ammunition’ 11
Ammunition for any firearm 11
Parts of ammunition 11
Prohibited ammunition 12
Component parts of ammunition 12
General exceptions to the control of firearms 12
Proving firearms 12
Antique firearms 13
‘Persons in the service of Her Majesty’ 18
Expert evidence 18

2 Prohibited Weapons and Ammunition 23

General overview 23
Definition of prohibited weapons 24
Component parts of prohibited weapons 27
Definition of prohibited ammunition 28
Dealings with prohibited weapons and prohibited ammunition 30

3 The Licensing of Section 1 Firearms and Ammunition 39

Definition of section 1 firearms 39
Air weapons 41
Scotland – Air Weapon Certificate 43
Definition of section 1 ammunition 44
When do I need a firearm certificate? 44
Exceptions from the need to hold a firearm certificate 46
Firearms dealers 47
Auctioneers, carriers and warehousemen 47
Slaughtering instruments 47
Ships and signalling apparatus 48
Carrying firearms for others 49
Rifle clubs and muzzle-loading pistol clubs 49
Practical shotgun 51
Cadet corps 52
Persons supervised by members of the armed forces 53
Miniature rifle ranges and shooting galleries 53
Theatrical performances 54
Athletics meetings 54
Police permits 54
Military and police forces 55
Museums 55
Authorised lending of firearms and shotguns on private premises 55
Visitor’s permits 59
Firearms for export 59
How do I get a firearm certificate? 60
Medical information 62
Delays in renewal and automatic extension of certificates 66
‘Good reason’ for requiring firearms 67
Assessment of the application 68
When should a firearm certificate be granted – the test 69
Conditions imposed upon firearm certificates 70
What else should I know about firearm certificates? 72
Section 1 ammunition 75
Transfer, deactivation and loss or destruction of section 1 firearms and ammunition 75
Work on section 1 firearms and ammunition 80

4 Shotguns and their Ammunition 83

Definition of ‘shotgun’ 83
When do I need a shotgun certificate? 84
How do I get a shotgun certificate? 85
‘Danger to public safety or the peace’ 86
What else should I know about shotgun certificates? 90
The possession offence in relation to shotguns 90
Transfer, deactivation and loss or destruction of shotguns and their ammunition 92
Shotgun ammunition 93
Work on shotguns and their ammunition 94
Purchases in the European Community 95

5 Refusal, Revocation and Appeal 97

Refusal and revocation 97
The process of appeal 101
A section 44 appeal is ‘on the merits’ 102
These are inter partes proceedings 104
Directions/documents for the appeal 104
Evidence 109
The hearing 109
The issues to be considered by the courts 110
Danger to public safety or the peace 111
Fitness to be entrusted with a firearm 111
Intemperate habits 112
Unsound mind 113
Breach of security conditions 113
Lack of co-operation with the licensing authority 113
Social media 114
Lack of good reason 115
The costs of appeal 119
Prohibited persons – applications to remove a prohibition under section 21 121

6 Police Permits 125

7 Exports and Imports of Firearms: Visitors’ Permits and European

Firearms Passes 129
Export and import 129
Export 129
Import 130
The UK Export Control Order 2008 130
Seizure of goods brought into the United Kingdom 131
Visitors’ permits 131
European Firearms Pass 134
Purchases in the European Community 136

8 Security of Firearms and Ammunition 137

Introduction 137
Storage 138
‘Unauthorised persons’ 140
In use 141
‘Reasonable precautions’? 142
Air weapons 142

9 Imitation Firearms 143

Imitation firearms 143
Imitation firearms which are ‘readily convertible’ 143
Realistic imitation firearms 146
Importation of realistic imitation firearms 148
Importation of knives 149

10 Shooting Game 151

What is meant by ‘game’? 151
When can I shoot game? 152
Game licences 153
Sale of game 154
Ownership of game and neighbours’ rights 155
Shooting game on the foreshore and over water 157

11 Poaching 159

Introduction 159
Poaching in the daytime 160
Poaching by night 161
Poaching by day or night 163
Powers of police 164

12 Protected Birds and Animals 165

Introduction 165
Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 165
Deer Act 1991 174
Introduction 174
Close seasons 175
Killing deer at night 177
Use of unlawful methods and illegal possession of objects 177
Powers of police and powers of court on conviction of offences 180
Deer poaching 181
Conservation of Seals Act 1970 182
Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 186
Protection of Badgers Act 1992 188
Other legislation 192

13 The Tenant’s Right to Shoot 193
Common Law 193

Ground Game Act 1880 194

14 Young People and Guns 199
Summary 199

Firearms 199
Shotguns 199
Air weapons 200
England and Wales 200
Scotland 200
General exceptions 201
Offences 201
Firearms and ammunition 201
Buying or hiring 202
Possession 203
Gifts 204
Shotguns and shotgun ammunition 204
Gifts 204
Having an assembled shotgun 205
Air weapons and air weapon ammunition 205
Having possession of an air weapon and its ammunition in a public place and elsewhere 205
Scotland 206
Parting with possession of an air weapon and its ammunition to a youngster 206
Gifts 207
Exceptions 209

15 Criminal Offences Relating to Firearms: General Restrictions on Shooting and Carrying Guns 211

Introduction 211
Unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition 212
Possession offences 213
‘Possession’ 213
Exceptions and defences in possession cases 214
The possession offences themselves 215
Other offences relating to possessing firearms 218
‘Minding a weapon’ 218
Conversion of firearms 219
Possession of articles for use in conversion of imitation firearms 219
Dealing in firearms when not a registered firearms dealer 219
Manufacturing and supplying prohibited weapons 220
Offences concerning the use of firearms 221
Possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life 221
Possession of a firearm or imitation firearm to cause someone to believe that unlawful violence will be used against them 221
Possession of a firearm or imitation firearm to resist arrest 221
Possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence 222
Carrying a firearm in a public place 222
Possession by persons prohibited from possessing firearms 226
Having offensive weapons in a public place 226
Bladed articles 227
Trespassing with a firearm 227
Trespassing with a weapon of offence 229
Shooting on or near the highway 230
Shooting beyond premises 232
Shooting in cemeteries and burial grounds 232
Possession of firearms when drunk 233
Possession of a firearm, or imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence 233
Regulatory offences regarding certificates 233

16 Firearms Dealers 235

Who is a firearms dealer? 235
Registration of firearms dealers 236
Conditions of registration 238
Registration of a new place of business 240
Removal from register of dealer’s name or place of business by the police 240
The register of firearms transactions 242
Registered firearms dealers’ servants 245
Remote sales 245
Sales for export 246
Carriers 246
Storage of explosives by a firearms dealer 247
Consequences of conviction of firearms dealers 247
Anonymous surrenders of firearms and ammunition from the public 248

17 Museum Firearms Licences 251

Appendices 255

A Antique firearms: Home Office guidance to the police 257
B Museums for which firearms licences may be issued 259
C Close seasons for shooting game and deer 261
D Wild birds which are protected by special penalties 263
E1 Wild birds which may be killed or taken outside the close season 265
E2 Close seasons outside which wild birds listed at Appendix E1 above may be killed, injured or taken 267
F Licences for shooting wild birds and wild animals 269
G Wild animals which may not be killed or taken by certain methods 271
H Particulars to be entered by firearms dealer in register of transactions 273
I Firearms of historic interest 275
Index 277