“I went to prison for 4 months for fraud?  Can I possess a firearm?”

The simple answer is, no you can’t, at least not lawfully.  If you received a 4 month prison sentence then you will not be able to until 5 years after your release.  A longer prison sentence can result in a lifelong disqualification.

There is some hope however – a Crown Court can lift the disqualification at any time (see below).

The Law

The Sentence The Disqualification
An adult who has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of three years or more.
You must not at any time have a firearm or ammunition in your possession.  This prohibition lasts for the rest of the person’s life.
An adult who has been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of three months or more but less than three years.
You must not at any time before the expiration of the period of five years from the date of release have a firearm or ammunition in your possession.
A person who is sentenced to imprisonment for a period of less three months.
You will not be prohibited from possessing a firearm as a result of that particular sentence.
A person who got a suspended sentence.
It does not matter whether the sentence was suspended or not.  If you received a sentence of imprisonment then the above rules will apply regardless

The above list of persons disqualified from possessing firearms is not exhaustive, and we would recommend that anyone who has had involvement with the criminal justice system takes detailed legal advice before possessing a firearm.

What about air rifles?

The disqualification from possessing firearms and ammunition applies to any kind of firearm including a low powered air rifle. If you have been to prison for any period of time it is important that you do not possess the same until you have taken full and detailed legal advice.

What about antique firearms?

If you have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment then you cannot lawfully possess any type of firearm including antiques until the disqualification expires or is lifted by a court. This includes a firearm that you would normally be allowed to possess as an antique.

What happens if a breach the disqualification and possess a firearm?

If you possess any type of firearm or ammunition during the term of the prohibition then you would commit a further criminal offence. The consequences of being found guilty of such a sentence can be severe.

Getting a disqualification lifted

A Crown Court judge has the power to lift the disqualification and allow a person to possess lawful firearms. Such applications are complicated and it is important that you take specialist legal advice before making an application to the courts.

It is also important to realise that having the disqualification lifted is not the same thing as possessing a firearms license. If you successfully have the disqualification lifted you may still need to obtain a firearms license or shotgun certificate depending on the type of firearm you wish to possess.

If you require advice about any of the matters mentioned in this article, Farleys Solicitors are here to help. Contact our specialist firearms department today on 0845 287 0939 or submit your enquiry online.