Antique firearm laws will address 100 years of uncertainty, says BASC

BASC believes proposals to change the laws on antique firearms will provide clarity and certainty that has been missing for more than a century.

The Home Office is seeking views on plans to define in law the definition of an antique firearm and establish a process for continually reviewing relevant regulations. A public consultation will run until December 14.

Bill Harriman, BASC’s director of firearms, said: “BASC is pleased the government intends to import clarity relating to antique firearms into the Firearms Act 1968 by enshrining the legal definition of an antique firearm into law for the first time in over a century.

“In law, clarity equates to certainty. This is very important in a penal statute that has statutory custodial sentences on conviction for the illegal possession of some firearms. People need to know the exact legal status of any antique gun that they intend to collect.”

BASC believes the changes will remove ambiguity by providing a definitive list of accepted obsolete calibres and ignition methods and will allow a firearm of a calibre and type subsequently not accepted as antique to be added to a firearm or shotgun certificate.

Mr Harriman added: “BASC has the in-house expertise to make a first-class response to this consultation. We will also use our close links to the museum world, the antiques trade and to collector associations to ensure that the antique firearms collecting community speaks with one loud voice.

“There is a lot of detailed work to be done over the next month to ensure that collectors are not disadvantaged by changes to the current position as well as exploiting opportunities to expand the range of antique firearms that can be collected without any certification.”

Full details of the consultation can be seen here.

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