The Firearms Act 1968 defines the categories of firearm and other prohibited weapons, including imitation firearms, ammunition, pepper spray type products, tasers, and airguns.
Offences involving firearms range from unauthorised possession, manufacture and conversion along with use during other offences.
The legislation under the Firearms Act is complex which makes it extremely important to seek legal advice for these types of offences. Some of these offences carry a mandatory minimum sentence of five years’ imprisonment, which can be life changing.
We can provide initial advice confirming what does and doesn’t fall within the legislation when it comes to items that you wish to obtain or retain as part of a sport or hobby. This could make all the difference when transferring weapons between locations, for example to a proposed sporting event, or if the police attend at your address to check weapons subject to licences or reports of illegal activity. As part of your licence with the Home Office, the police can report any refusal to allow them to examine or view the firearms that are subject to the licence.
Firearms will always be examined by a trained police officer who will provide details of the weapon and sometimes carry out fingerprint analysis and DNA testing depending on the allegations being made.
It is also not an irregular situation to find members of the public with airguns or other types of prohibited weapon, unaware whether it is legal and thereafter becoming subject to prosecution. Commonly, the velocity of bullets or missiles in airguns could mean an offence is being committed and involves expert examination.
Nicholls & Nicholls have been instructed in numerous allegations of this type and can provide robust advice and assistance throughout the process. One such example was the adaptation of a drainpipe firing fruit using pressurised gas canisters. This particular client was subject to Crown Court proceedings until we successfully demonstrated, with the use of expert reports and an experienced barrister, that this could not fire at the velocity required to be considered a firearm. Surprisingly however, it was extremely close to the limitations and could have meant a prison sentence for the client if we had not explored all avenues of the firearms legislation.
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