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Firearms News

EU Firearms Directive published

Click here for full details

National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) issues good practice guidance to Registered Firearms Dealers.

The guide has been drafted by firearms licensing specialists within the Police and the British Shooting Sports Council and is available by clicking here.

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.

BASC issues expanding ammunition advice (Policing and Crime Act 2017)

The new legislation means expanding ammunition will no longer be prohibited and will be covered by Section 1 of the Firearms Act 1968.

The change particularly affects those issued with temporary permits due to delays in the renewal process. Under previous legislation, expanding ammunition could not be held on temporary permits.

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.

Commencement of Policing and Crime Act 2017 announced

Changes that took effect on 2nd May 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).

Click here for the Home Office Circular on the provisions commencing 2nd May 2017

The following section will commence on 3rd April 2017:

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)

Click here for BASC FAQs

Click here for a full BASC briefing

Click here to access the full text of the Act

Deactivated Firearms Fact Sheet


BASC pledges to work with UK government on proposed legislation

Click here for full details and Q&A’s on the EU proposals


BASC welcomes BMA statement on ‘conscientious objectors’ and firearms licensing

BASC has welcomed updated guidance from the British Medical Association (BMA) telling GPs they ‘must engage in the process of firearms licensing when requested to do so’.

Click here for full details

Scottish air weapon licensing

If you possess an air weapon after 31st December without an air weapon certificate or holding a valid firearm or shotgun certificate, you will commit an offence. This applies to those who applied for their air weapon certificate after 31 October. Lodge your air weapon with another air weapon/firearm/shotgun certificate holder, or a dealer until you obtain your air weapon certificate.

Click on the link for the official Scottish air weapon licensing website –

New firearms licensing medical process from 1st April

The Home Office has announced changes to the application process for firearm and shotgun certificates so that information sharing between GPs and police is improved. The move is in response to recommendations for change to the current system submitted by Coroners, the IPCC and the medical profession.

As of the 1st April 2016 application forms will change. Applicants will be advised that the police will not only contact their GP as they do now asking whether they know of any relevant medical condition or have concerns about the issue of a firearm or shotgun certificate, but will also ask GPs to place an encoded reminder onto the applicant’s patient record. During the validity of the firearm or shotgun certificate, the presence of the encoded reminder will enable the GP to consider notifying the police if a person’s medical health gives rise to concern regarding their possession of firearms. Upon cancellation of the certificate, for whatever reason, the police will send notification to the GP and the encoded reminder will be inactivated.

The scheme is the result of 3 years hard work by a Home Office working group made up of representatives of the police, the medical profession, the Information Commissioner’s Office and shooting organisations, BASC being at the forefront. Initially, consideration was given to the introduction of compulsory scheme whereby every applicant had to complete a self-declaration medical form and submit it to their GP together with a relevant fee. The GP in turn was expected to amend or corroborate the information, place an encoded reminder on the patient record, and forward the form to the police. BASC fiercely resisted this proposal as being wholly disproportionate.

BASC has been instrumental in developing the new process. We have worked hard in supporting Essex Police who ran a pilot of the scheme. This produced meaningful data to the working group. It showed that GPs needed to be consulted in fewer than 2% of applications proving without doubt that there was no case for a move towards mandatory medical testing of all applicants.

The introduction of the encoded reminder onto medical records adds a dynamic component to existing police monitoring systems and supports BASC’s case for the introduction of 10 year certificates.

For full details see the following Home Office fact sheet and BASC frequently asked questions guide;

Click here for the British Medical Association advice to GP’s

Law Commission reports on firearms

Click here for full details

HMIC report into the efficiency and effectiveness of firearms licensing in England and Wales

HMIC report – A Curate’s egg

Click here to read the HMIC report

Chief Constable Andy Marsh: Work already underway to address HMIC concerns on firearms licensing

BASC white paper – Extending the duration of firearm and shotgun certificates

Click here to read more

BASC and National Crime Agency collaborate to provide firearms security advice

Advice for firearms certificate holders on protecting their firearms from theft has been published by the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the police. Read more >>>

France changes laws on military calibres and their use for hunting

Where former military calibres were banned from being used to hunt, they are now classified as hunting calibres except the following: Article R311-2 of the French Homeland Security Code (“Code de la Sécurité intérieure”) has been amended. It places most ammunition types into Category C&D which are allowed for hunting in France. For example; the following calibres which were previously banned from hunting are now permitted;

  • 7,5 × 54 MAS ;
  • 7,5 × 55 Swiss ;
  • 30 M1 (7,62 × 33) ;
  • 7,62 × 51 or (7,62 × 51 NATO) or .308 Winchester;
  • 7,92 × 57 Mauser or 7,92 × 57 JS or 8 × 57 J or 8 × 57 JS or 8 mm Mauser ;
  • 7,62 × 54 R or 7,62 × 54 R Mosin Nagant ;
  • 30.06 Springfield or 7,62 × 63 ;
  • 303 British or 7,7 × 56.

The following calibres remain in Category B and prohibited from use in hunting regardless of the dimensions and action type of the firearm.

  • 7.62 × 39
  • 5.56 × 45;
  • Russian 5.45 × 39
  • 12.7 × 99
  • 14.5 × 114

Unannounced visits to certificate holders – BASC advice to members

For full details click here

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

Important changes beginning 14th July 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.

For full details click here

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.

Imports of firearms and ammunition – Import licensing arrangements update March 2014

The following documents detail current import arrangements for all firearms and ammunition entering the UK. A new provision exists meaning firearms manufactured on or before 31 December 1899 no longer require an import licence. Specific provisions apply and you are advised to read the following documents in full before attempting to import.

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.


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