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UK Gun Law

Gun Law in the UK has steadily evolved. The 1870 Gun License Act for Open Carry or CCW had been in force, this was more for money-raising purposes as the license had to be renewed each year and cost approximately $50 (2010 pricing). Th Gun License was Shall Issue and did not affect the ownership and purchase of guns. Yet the crucial absense of a 2nd Amendment (the 1691 being vague and not specific) led to a steady erosion and replacement of the Gun Rights with Gun Laws. At the turn of the 19th century the UK would be better described as a country with Gun Rights matching that of the USA.

Up until 1920 though there were Shall-Issue firearms licenses and even a Shall-Issue CCW permit system for those wishing to carry pistols and no gun registration. All this was to change after WW1 though.

1920 Firearms Act saw major Firearm Licensing come into being. The Police Chief of a county now decided who would get a firearms license which they now called a Firearms Certificate. The official reason was a fear of soldiers with Lee Enfield rifles who had brought them back from WW1. The real reason was more to do with the fact the police did not want an independent populace with their own firearms. From this point on the police could issue and revoke firearms. Gun Registration was started and the era of the Nanny State had begun...

1936 was the banning of machineguns and categorizing them as Section 5 - Prohibited, except to the military. Incidentally this also banned defensive sprays which were later very popular in other countries as hand-held canisters for non-lethal purposes. The following year the British Home Secretary ruled that self-defence was no longer a suitable reason for applying for a firearm certificate, and directed police to refuse such applications on the grounds that, according to his wisdom, "firearms cannot be regarded as a suitable means of protection and may be a source of danger." The words being proven wrong time and time again as previous and history later shows and did show.

Following the next big war in Europe more restrictions for gun owners came along.

1968 Firearms Act was a watershed for the firm direction of Gun Law. By now the right to apply for a firearm for self-defence was not considered 'good reason'. The only direction open to gun-owners now were the sporting, hunting and collecting avenues. Secure storage was made mandatory, Shot Gun Certificates were introduced for shotguns, again, like with a Firearm Certificate these were granted solely by the local Chief Constable. However the capacity was unaffected and they were 'shall issue'.

1988 Firearms Act. 1987 - Following the strange events of the Hungerford Killings comes a test for gun owning community.
Center-fire Rifles that have semi-automatic capability are under threat from a conservative government, recently re-elected.
The response from the organised shooting community is muted. The official response from the spineless NRA UK is -
'We have no requirement for these weapons!'
So the government passes the Firearms Act 1988.
Without a breath of protest vast swathes of semi-auto rifles are seized, destroyed and eliminated from private citizens hands!
Any possibility of a citizens defence force or organisation is eliminated. Handguns are left alone, despite Ryan using one to kill as well as the assault rifle he had.

Firearms ( Amendment) Act 1997 - A conservative government (AGAIN!) enacts Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997, which effectively banned all but .22 pistols
This effectively banned the private possession of all modern pistols, even for competitive sporting purposes save .22 pistols.
Even 'antique' revolvers of 100 years old or more were affected by this draconian move as the police considered anything in 'available calibre' to be covered. Britains legendary Webley .455 fell under this despicable act.
Gun Clubs now are expected to vet and establish probabationary measures against ALL newcomers, essentially policing citizens wanting to own section 1 firearms. Additionally many gun clubs have to close due to the pistol prohibition.
To actually become a full gun-club member you now have to 'conform' to extra 'rules, regulations and policy' of a Home Office Approved Gun Club!
Failing to 'tow the line', meet strict criteria (which varys) leads to a downturn in gun-owners. Gun owners in the UK number about 119,000 certificates held.

Despite the slavish attempts from the government to placate the snowdrop campaign the conservatives still manage to lose the 1997 election and New Labour are elected. All that disarming for nothing...

The Firearms (Amendment) (No.2) Act 1997. This now means even the .22 pistols that were, earlier that same year, excluded from the prohibitions are now banned as well.

What firearms do British People have left to obtain legally?

Here is what they can own.

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Firearm and Shotgun Application Process

Shotgun - Section 2 Category

Historically the shotgun was left alone by the British Establishment. That soon changed in 1988 when an application form was required and a police visit to check the 'security' of the property it would be kept at. Nevertheless compared to the Firearms Certificate the Shot Gun Certificate is easier to obtain. In the video shown the form 103 is shown, it has now (since 2014) changed to the Form 201.

To be classed as a shotgun it must ben smoothbore, have an internal magazine that can accept no more than two cartridges. Known as a 2+1 - The 2 being the magazine capacity and the 1 being the barrel capacity. No detachable magazine or rotary cylinder. It must also not have a barrel length shorter than 24 inches.

Firearms - Section 1 Category

For center-fire rifles, long-barreled pistols, shotguns with a capacity greater than two, rimfire firearms, blackpowder firearms and high-powered air-rifles and pistols a Firearms Certificate is required to be held by the owner. Applying for one is shown in the video above. Unlike with a Shot Gun Certificate the law is much stricter. Ammunition storage is required and the partial dismantling of center-fire firearms when in storage.

Additionally you cannot shoot Section 1 category firearms unless your Firearms Certificate states you can do so. For example if your certificate states gun clubs only, you cannot shoot your held firearms legally on private land. The police can revoke firearms certificates for the slightest of reasons, even threatening to do so if they disagree with a direction a gun-owner has taken that they take issue with.

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

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