Violent Crime Reduction Act

The Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 received royal assent in November 2006. This page aims to provide clarification of complex issues in detail. For further information call BASC’s firearms department on 01244-573010

ACPO & BASC Guide to the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006

Guide to the Violent Crime Reduction Act

Please note that due to the ‘Specifications for Imitation Firearms Regulations 2011’ this guide is currently being revised and will be published here in due course. Current guidance about these latest regulations is available at the bottom of this page.

Implemented on 6 April 2007

Section 35 – Relating to the sale and purchase of ammunition primers for metallic ammunition (see fact sheet ‘Shotgun Cartridges and Primers’ below)

Section 31 (3) – This section allows those selling airguns by way of trade or business to apply to be registered as a firearms dealer. The remainder of Section 31 which includes the restriction of trade air gun sales to RFDs, commenced on 1 October 2007. (See fact sheet ‘Registration as a firearms dealer – FAQs’ below)

Implemented on 1 October 2007

The remainder of Section 31 i.e. restricting sales of air weapons by way of trade or business to Registered Firearms Dealers (RFD’s) only. This section means that the completion of RFD applications for air gun sales may be completed by the police.

Sections 32-34

  • RFD airgun sales have to take place face-to-face with both the buyer and seller present.
  • The age at which air guns are possessed and purchased is raised from 17 to 18 years of age (See BASC’s air rifle code of practice below)
  • It is an offence for anybody to fire an air pellet beyond the boundary of the premises where they have permission to shoot.

Sections 36 – 40 – Bans the manufacture, import and sale of imitation firearms except where exemptions are provided in regulations (yet to be published). Since October 2007 it is an offence to:

  • Manufacture a realistic imitation firearm.
  • Modify an imitation firearm so it becomes a realistic imitation firearm.
  • Sell a realistic imitation firearm.
  • Bring a realistic imitation firearm in to Great Britain or cause one to be brought in to Great Britain.
  • Import or manufacture an imitation firearm which does not conform to specifications set out in Regulations.
  • It is an offence for a person under the age of 18 to purchase an imitation firearm; likewise it is also an offence to sell an imitation firearm to a person under the age of 18.

Section 41 – Increases the maximum sentence for possessing and imitation firearm in a public place without a reasonable excuse

Sections 43- 44 – The age at which a person may buy or be sold a crossbow (over a certain power) or a knife is raised from 17 to 18 years of age (see fact sheets “Crossbows” & “Knives” below)

Section 51 – Sets out the corresponding firearms provisions for Northern Ireland. These vary from England, Scotland & Wales as Northern Ireland firearms laws have always been very different, separate guidance will be available about the Northern Ireland provisions of this Act shortly.

BASC will continue to liaise closely with the Home Office and will update this page when new information becomes available.

Related pages

Firearms Licensing League Table

The table shows the average number of days a police force takes to process different application types. The figures are colour coded to indicate relative performance.


Muzzle Loading This branch of the target-shooting sports has been growing in popularity over the past few years. It involves using either original old guns, or replicas of modern manufacture. The sport is particularly attractive to those who have an interest in history – in our heritage. A muzzle-loading gun

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