If you have an older firearm, you may find that you soon have to apply for a firearms license.

Thousands of people in recent years have enjoyed the possession of older firearms under a legal exemption (that the firearm is an antique).

New proposed laws will mean that seven types of ammunition are now being removed from the definition of ‘antique firearm’.  Existing owners of firearms that will be affected by these regulations will need to apply for a firearm certificate.

The Law Commission has been critical of the lack of a definition of ‘antique’ in existing firearms legislation.  Concerns had been raised that in a number of cases criminal use was being made of weapons which could fall under the antique provisions.  This has led to the government seeking new changes in law that will limit certain firearms being deemed antiques. The stated goal is to criminalise those misusing the provisions.  The change does have potential to create legal problems for those who never meant to do anything wrong.

Seven ammunition types will be removed from the definition of ‘antique firearm’, making up to 26,000 guns that use them illegal to own without a firearms licence.  If a firearm is found in your home or in your possession, you could be prosecuted.

The possession of a prohibited firearm is an offence of strict liability.  This means that it will be no defence to say that you thought the firearm was an antique.  It will only be deemed an antique if it can be objectively said to be so.

The seven types of ammunition set to be banned are:

– .320 British (also known as .320 Revolver CF, short or long)

– .41 Colt (short or long)

– .44 Smith and Wesson Russian

– .442 Revolver (also known as .44 Webley)

– 9.4mm Dutch Revolver

– 10.6mm German Ordnance Revolver

– 11mm French Ordnance Revolver M1873 (Army)

The regulations will apply across England and Wales. The regulations apply to Scotland except in respect of air weapons, which is a devolved matter. The regulations do not apply in Northern Ireland as firearms policy is devolved.

If you require legal advice about firearms licence or firearms criminal offences, contact Farleys’ specialist firearms department today on 0845 287 0939 or send your enquiry through our online contact form.