The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 has made a number of changes that affect firearms legislation. There are three main areas which are mended:
(1) Possession of firearms in a public place
(2) Air weapons age limits
(3) Prohibition of certain air weapons
The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 Sec 37 amends Section 19 of The Firearms Act 1968, which deals with possessing certain firearms in a public place. This section now reads as follows….
A person commits an offence if, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse (the proof whereof lies on him) he has with him in a public place
(1) a loaded shotgun
(b) an air weapon (whether loaded or not)
(c) any other firearm (whether loaded or not) together with ammunition suitable for use in that firearm, or
(d) an imitation firearm.
The above is effective from 20 th January 2004.
Previously, there were certain provisions, which allowed the possession of air weapons by persons over the age of 14 years. The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 Sec 38 affectively changes this age to 17 years.
Our air weapon web-site page has been amended accordingly, and is effective from 20 th January 2004.
Go to Air Weapons.
The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 Sec 39 creates an additional category of prohibited firearm, to be added to Sec 5 of The Firearms Act 1968.
The new subsection is Sec 5 (1) (af) and reads as follows…
Any air rifle, airgun or air pistol which uses, or is designed or adapted for use with, a self-contained gas cartridge system.
From 20 th January 2004 it will be an offence to manufacture, sell, purchase, transfer or acquire any air weapon using a self-contained gas cartridge system.
Anyone who already owns one of these weapons on that date will be able to keep it legally, only if they obtain a firearm certificate from the police. Applications for firearm certificates must be made before 1 st May 2004.
Alternatively, existing owners can hand their weapons into police for disposal. Again, this must be done before 1 st May 2004.
From 1 st May 2004 it will be an offence, punishable by a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 10 years imprisonment, to possess a self-contained gas cartridge weapon without the necessary firearm certificate.
"References to the date of 1st May 2004 in the passage above were copied from publicity issued by central government. Unfortunately the date is incorrect by one day, i.e. certificate applications were required to be submitted to police on or before 29th April 2004 and holders who failed to do so would have committed the offence of unlawful possession with effect from 30th April 2004. The MPS administered applications in accordance with the correct dates, but regrets the oversight which appeared in this web page."
What is being banned:
The ban applies to any air rifle, air gun or air pistol that uses, or is designed or adapted for use with, a self-contained gas cartridge system.
From 20 th January 2004 it will be an offence to manufacture, sell, purchase, transfer or acquire such a weapon.
From 1 st May 2004 it will be an offence to possess one, unless it is held on a firearm certificate.
What is NOT being banned:
The ban does NOT apply to weapons that use CO2 bulb systems because CO2 bulbs do not contain a projectile and are not therefore completely self-contained.
Anyone who owns a self-contained gas cartridge weapon, and wishes to keep it beyond 20 th January 2004, must apply to their local firearms licensing authority for a firearm certificate. Alternatively, they may hand it into police for disposal. They will not be able to sell their weapon, or even give it away, after this date.
Application forms, (forms 101 and 125), should be available from any police station or firearms licensing authority and are also downloadable from this web-site. (go to application forms).
Existing firearm certificate holders must apply for a variation, for the weapon to be added to their authorised firearms.
The police must be satisfied that an applicant is fit to be entrusted with the gun, is not a prohibited person , and will not represent a danger to public safety or to the peace.
Because self-contained gas cartridge weapons are not currently subject to certification and are often used for informal shooting pursuits, the legislation exempts applicants from the usual requirement to demonstrate a good reason for wanting to retain their weapon.
However, applicants will be required to put in place, at their own expense, appropriate security measures to prevent unauthorised access to their weapon. The level of security required will be the same as for other weapons held on a firearm certificate, and suitable advice is available from your local firearms licensing authority. See also security
A fee will be payable.
Existing owners who do not wish to keep their weapons beyond 1 st May 2004 may surrender it at any police station before this date. Compensation will NOT be paid for any such weapons surrendered.
Anyone who manufactures, sells, purchases, transfers or acquires a self-contained gas cartridge weapon on or after 20 th January 2004 will commit an offence under the Firearms Act 1968 as amended, and is liable to a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 10 years imprisonment.
Anyone who is found in possession of a self-contained gas cartridge weapon on or after 1 st May 2004 without it being held on a valid firearm certificate, will also commit an offence under the Firearms Act 1968 as amended and is liable to the same penalty.
No offence will be committed where someone has applied for a firearm certificate before 1 st May 2004, but their application remains outstanding or is the subject of an outstanding appeal.
Retailers will not be able to trade in self-contained gas cartridge weapons from 20 th January 2004, although they may continue to possess their existing stock until 1 st May 2004. If they wish to sell the weapons abroad or to provide a repair service, they must apply to the Home Office for the Secretary of State's authority under Sec 5 of the Firearms Act 1968 and to register with police as a firearms dealer. Applications must be submitted before 1 st May 2004.
The information within these pages are compiled to assist you understand the changes made to firearms legislation by the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. They are not exhaustive and there may be other information available. If you cannot find the answer to your question here, then please contact your local firearms enquiry team for advice.
See Contact you Team.