This is where BASC’s firearms department posts the latest news and legislative changes that effect firearms users and the gun trade. BASC members wishing to ask a question of BASC’s firearms department may call on 01244 573010 with their membership number.
April 2018 - Limited extension of validity of firearm and shotgun certificates
July 2017 - EU Firearms Directive published
July 2017 - National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) good practice guide for Registered Firearms Dealers
Local firearms enquiry officers will be contacting firearms dealers to book an appointment in order to go through the document to help dealers understand the requirements, particularly in respect of record keeping. BASC advises its trade membership to work with the police on this initiative.
May 2017 - BASC issues advice on expanding ammunition (Policing and Crime Act 2017)
From 2nd May 2017; those in possession of temporary permits will be clear to possess expanding ammunition amongst their authorised limit, therefore removing the necessity to lodge expanding ammunition with a registered firearms dealer until the receipt of their new firearm certificate.
Those issued with temporary permits before 2nd May 2017 will now be allowed to retrieve their ammunition from dealers and use it. Nevertheless, even under the new rules, it will not be possible to buy or acquire any new ammunition while covered by a temporary permit.
May 2017 - Changes to firearms law from the Policing and Crime Act 2017
- Section 125 (Firearms Act 1968: meaning of “firearm” etc) in so far as it is not already in force;
- Section 127 (possession of articles for conversion of imitation firearms);
- Section 128 (controls on defectively deactivated weapons);
- Section 129 (controls on ammunition which expands on impact); and
- Section 130 (authorised lending and possession of firearms for hunting etc).
The following section commenced in law on 3rd April 2017 and will be subject to consultation and drafting with key stakeholders:
- Section 133 (guidance to police officers in respect of firearms) in so far as it is not already in force. (NB: this will allow the Home Office to draft the Statutory Guide)
Nov 2016 - BASC welcomes BMA statement on ‘conscientious objectors’ and firearms licensing
Oct 2016 - Unannounced visits to certificate holders – BASC advice to members
From Wednesday 15 October police forces in England and Wales will be taking part in an initiative to ensure firearms are being kept and stored securely. New Home Office guidance allows the police to make unannounced visits to check on the security arrangements of certificate holders under certain circumstances. The police do not have any new powers of entry.
The new Home Office guidance states that:
“Where it is judged necessary, based on specific intelligence in light of a particular threat, or risk of harm, the police may undertake an unannounced home visit to check the security of a certificate holder’s firearms and shotguns. It is not expected that the police will undertake an unannounced home visit at an unsocial hour unless there is a justified and specific requirement to do so on the grounds of crime prevention or public safety concerns and the police judge that this action is both justified and proportionate.
It is recognised that there is no new power of entry for police or police staff when conducting home visits. To mitigate any misunderstanding on the part of the certificate holder the police must provide a clear and reasoned explanation to the certificate holder at the time of the visit.”
BASC is advising members to ensure their security arrangements are up to standard. The police are required to provide a clear and reasoned explanation to the certificate holder at the time of the visit. BASC members should be left in no doubt as to why the visit is being made. The officers should provide proof of identity, but if you have any doubts you should call you firearms licensing department to ensure that they are who they say they are. The police do not have an automatic statutory right of entry but BASC recommends a sensible and cooperative approach to this type of situation.
It is possible that the reason for visiting may not be specifically about the certificate holder but may relate to other factors such as local rural or urban crime. There is an expectation of elementary cooperation from certificate holders following a reasonable request to check the security of your firearms.
If BASC members feel that any visit has not been undertaken properly they should first draw this to the attention of the local force; clearly stating the reasons why they believe this to be the case. BASC, on behalf of its members, will challenge robustly any police force which does not follow the Home Office guidelines.
A crime-stoppers line which was launched as part of the campaign, has now been abandoned. BASC argued against the use of the line, stating that it was neither necessary nor appropriate.
BASC chief executive Richard Ali said: “BASC supports the police in their efforts to help firearms certificate holders maintain the excellent record of safety and security in England and Wales. Where there is specific intelligence of threat, risk or harm then the police should act. This guidance provides that framework and ensures that the police provide a clear and reasoned explanation to the certificate holder at the time of the visit.”
For BASC’s guidance on firearms security click here.
2014 - Important changes for persons with suspended sentences
from the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
- Section 21 of the firearms Act 1968 – prohibited persons now relates to certain suspended sentences.
- Section 21 applicable to the possession of antique firearms.
2014 - Authorised Professional Practice - Firearms Licensing
The College of Policing has published new guidance to bring greater consistency to the governance of firearms licensing across the country. The guidance – known as Authorised Professional Practice (APP) – sets out what chief officers with responsibility for firearms licensing should consider in developing a robust, efficient and fair licensing process. National policing lead for firearms licensing, Chief Constable Andy Marsh, said:
“The vast majority of certificate holders and registered firearms dealers are law-abiding and fully support the requirements for firearms licensing with public safety being paramount. This new guidance will help us to ensure that the service provided to them – from Cumbria to Cornwall – is more consistent than it has been in the past.” “The College of Policing is also seeking to develop a new nationally accredited training course so that officers and staff in this important area of policing work to the same high standards. This will further improve the service that we deliver to the licensed firearms community and help us to achieve greater consistency across England and Wales.”
College of Policing lead for the new firearms licensing APP, Dr Frank Pike, said:
“This new Authorised Professional Practice will help chief officers ensure that their firearms licensing processes are robust and rigorous while being cost efficient and fair.” “The College will continue to work with partners across policing and the licensed firearms community to ensure that we have the best guidance and training in place so that the police service can effectively manage the risks associated with firearms as well as provide a good service to law-abiding licensees and shotgun certificate holders.”
The guidance was consulted during autumn 2013 and complements the Home Office Guide on Firearms Licensing Law.
2013 - Be cautious about Cautions!
Solicitor Lachlan Nisbet talks us through the need to seek legal advice before accepting adult or youth cautions – click here to download.