Though guns aren’t as prevalent in British culture as they are in the US, for example, there are still over three million privately-owned firearms across the United Kingdom.
However, not many are familiar with the gun laws in the country. Here, we take a look at the current UK gun laws, to find out just what’s permitted, and what could get you into real trouble.
What Firearms Are Allowed?
People can own both shotguns and sporting rifles once granted the right permit. Low-powered air weapons are legal across England and Wales, though their sale gets restricted. That is, unless they fall into a category banned under the Firearms (Danger Air Weapons) Rules 1969.
Handguns got banned across the UK after the tragic Dunblane school massacre. They’re permitted only in Northern Ireland for personal protection — in UK gun laws self defense is something that’s taken into consideration.
Certificates and Licenses
To buy and own a firearm, you need to apply for a certificate, and the police will then assess you. It’s the same for organizations from museums to shooting clubs — they need licenses too.
The police will carry out various checks before giving someone a license, as gun control laws in the UK are fairly stringent.
There are criminal record checks, while the police require a report from the individual’s doctor too — they even carry out interviews. If the police judge somebody to have a good reason to own the firearm, and not to pose a threat to the safety of the public, the police may grant them a license.
Prohibited Guns and Defenses
While many firearms are prohibited under gun control laws in UK, sometimes an individual can have a defense. For example, if you can prove that someone deactivated the gun, the courts might let you off.
What about black powder gun laws in UK? This is where the antique defense can come in. The law generally allows antique black power guns manufactured before 1939, while with any antique firearm, the court would take into account factors such as the gun’s purpose, use, and age.
What if Somebody Hands Me the Gun?
To prove possession of a firearm, the prosecution needs to show that the accused knew they had something in their possession — generally classed as having it on your person, or in your house, even in a gun room, or car.
If someone gave you a bag with a gun inside, that’s still possession — even if you didn’t know about the firearm.
Even if someone was to hand you a gun, the courts would still consider you guilty unless you could prove that you were being forced to hold it.
UK Gun Laws Explained
While UK gun laws can be difficult to make sense of, it’s important to remember which guns are permitted, and with what licenses and certificates, to save you from getting into any potentially serious situations.
If you’re looking for more important guides like this one, don’t forget to check out the rest of our posts too.