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Firearms ‘The Legal Series’
Part 6

Shooting

Article written by 04 October 2012

Prohibited Persons

Section 21 of the 1968 Act provides that those sentenced to imprisonment (or detention in a young offender institution) for a period between 3 months and 3 years are prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition in any circumstances for 5 years from the date of their release. Those sentenced to 3 years or more are prohibited for life. The prohibition covers not just firearms and firearms ammunition but also shotguns, cartridges, air weapons and air gun pellets.

Storage & Security

Firearms and shotguns “must be stored securely at all times so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, access to the guns by unauthorised persons” (the Firearms Rules 1988). This also covers firearms ammunition, but not shotgun ammunition.

The only circumstances in which the above security requirements do not apply are when the guns or ammunition are in use or being cleaned, repaired or tested by the certificate holder, or in connection with its use, transfer or sale, or when the gun or ammunition is in transit in connection with any of these purposes.

In most cases the security of firearms, shotguns and ammunition in the home can be achieved by the use of cabinets specifically designed for that purpose. Cabinets should be attached securely to load bearing walls of the house and sited out of view, not only from outside the property, but also from visitors who enter the property.

The police may take the view that there is “unauthorised access” if other persons, including the certificate holder’s spouse, partner or children, have knowledge of the location of the keys to the gun cabinet or other security device, or the combination to the locks. Keys to any cabinet or security device should therefore be kept secure, and their location not disclosed, to avoid a breach of the security condition which is an offence. If access to the guns or ammunition is achieved by an unauthorised person the police will often prosecute as well as revoking the certificate.

Matthew Knight is the Senior Partner of Knights Solicitors. Knights are retained by a number of national organisations in relation to firearms licencing including The National Small-Bore Rifle Association. Knight are also retained by se.. Read more.

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