Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1988 c. 45


Firearms (Amendment) Act1988

1988 CHAPTER 45

An Act to amend the Firearms Act 1968 and to make further provision for regulating the possession of, and transactions relating to, firearms and ammunition.

[15th November 1988]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Specially dangerous weapons

Specially dangerous weapons

S-1 Prohibited weapons and ammunition.

1 Prohibited weapons and ammunition.

(1) Section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968 (in this Act referred to as ‘the principal Act’) shall have effect with the following amendments the purpose of which is to extend the class of prohibited weapons and ammunition, that is to say weapons and ammunition the possession, purchase, acquisition, manufacture, sale or transfer of which requires the authority of the Secretary of State.

(2) For paragraph (a) of subsection (1) there shall be substituted—

‘(a) any firearm which is so designed or adapted that two or more missiles can be successively discharged without repeated pressure on the trigger;

(ab) any self-loading or pump-action rifle other than one which is chambered for .22 rim-fire cartridges;

(ac) any self-loading or pump-action smooth-bore gun which is not chambered for .22 rim-fire cartridges and either has a barrel less than 24 inches in length or (excluding any detachable, folding, retractable or other movable butt-stock) is less than 40 inches in length overall;

(ad) any smooth-bore revolver gun other than one which is chambered for 9mm. rim-fire cartridges or loaded at the muzzle end of each chamber;

(ae) any rocket launcher, or any mortar, for projecting a stabilised missile, other than a launcher or mortar designed for line-throwing or pyrotechnic purposes or as signalling apparatus;’.

(3) For paragraph (c) of subsection (1) there shall be substituted—

‘(c) any cartridge with a bullet designed to explode on or immediately before impact, any ammunition containing or designed or adapted to contain any such noxious thing as is mentioned in paragraph (b) above and, if capable of being used with a firearm of any description, any grenade, bomb (or other like missile), or rocket or shell designed to explode as aforesaid.’

(4) If it appears to the Secretary of State that the provisions of the principal Act relating to prohibited weapons or ammunition should apply to—

(a) any firearm (not being an air weapon) which is not for the time being specified in subsection (1) of section 5, was not lawfully on sale in Great Britain in substantial numbers at any time before 1988 and appears to him to be—

(i) specially dangerous; or

(ii) wholly or partly composed of material making it not readily detectable by apparatus used for detecting metal objects; or

(b) any ammunition which is not for the time being specified in that subsection but appears to him to be specially dangerous,

he may by order add it to the weapons or ammunition specified in that subsection whether by altering the description of any weapon or ammunition for the time being there specified or otherwise.

(5) The power to make an order under subsection (4) above shall be exercisable by statutory instrument and no such order shall be made unless a draft of it has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

Weapons requiring firearm certificate

Weapons requiring firearm certificate

S-2 Re-definition of exempted shot guns.

2 Re-definition of exempted shot guns.

(1) Section 1 of the principal Act shall have effect with the following amendments the purpose of which is to require a firearm certificate for certain types of shot gun.

(2) For paragraph (a) of subsection (3) (which exempts shot guns with barrels not less than 24 inches in length) there shall be substituted—

‘(a) a shot gun within the meaning of this Act, that is to say a smooth-bore gun (not being an air gun) which—

(i) has a barrel not less than 24 inches in length and does not have any barrel with a bore exceeding 2 inches in diameter;

(ii) either has no magazine or has a non-detachable magazine incapable of holding more than two cartridges; and

(iii) is not a revolver gun; and’.

(3) After subsection (3) there shall be inserted—

(3A) A gun which has been adapted to have such a magazine as is mentioned in subsection (3)(a)(ii) above shall not be regarded as falling within that provision unless the magazine bears a mark approved by the Secretary of State for denoting that fact and that mark has been made, and the adaptation has been certified in writing as having been carried out in a manner approved by him, either by one of the two companies mentioned in section 58(1) of this Act or by such other person as may be approved by him for that purpose.’

Shot guns

S-3 Grant and renewal of shot gun certificates.

3 Grant and renewal of shot gun certificates.

(1) For section 28(1) of the principal Act (criteria for grant of shot gun certificates) there shall be substituted—

(1) Subject to subsection (1A) below, a shot gun certificate shall be granted or, as the case may be, renewed by the chief officer of police if he is satisfied that the applicant can be permitted to possess a shot gun without danger to the public safety or to the peace.

(1A) No such certificate shall be granted or renewed if the chief officer of police—

(a) has reason to believe that the applicant is prohibited by this Act from possessing a shot gun; or

(b) is satisfied that the applicant does not have a good reason for possessing, purchasing or acquiring one.

(1B) For the purposes of paragraph (b) of subsection (1A) above an applicant shall, in particular, be regarded as having a good reason if the gun is intended to be used for sporting or competition purposes or for shooting vermin; and an application shall not be refused by virtue of that paragraph merely because the applicant intends neither to use the gun himself nor to lend it for anyone else to use.’

(2) After section 28(2) of the principal Act (form and contents of shot gun certificates) there shall be inserted—

(2A) A shot gun certificate shall specify the description of the shot guns to which it relates including, if known, the identification numbers of the guns.’

S-4 Transfers of shot guns.

4 Transfers of shot guns.

(1) This section applies where a person—

(a) sells, lets on hire or gives a shot gun; or

(b) lends a shot gun for a period of more than seventy-two hours,

to another person in the United Kingdom who is neither a registered firearms dealer nor a person who shows that he is by virtue of the principal Act or this Act entitled to purchase or acquire the shot gun without holding a shot gun certificate.

(2) The transferor shall—

(a) comply with any instructions contained in the certificate produced by the transferee; and

(b) within seven days of the transaction send a notice of the transaction to the chief officer of police who issued the transferor's certificate or, if he is by virtue of the principal Act or this Act entitled to be in possession of the shot gun without holding a certificate, to the chief officer of police who issued the transferee's certificate.

(3) The transferee shall, within seven days of the transaction, send a notice of the transaction to the chief officer of police who issued his certificate.

(4) The notice of a transaction under subsection (2) or (3) above shall contain a description of the shot gun in question (giving the identification number if any) and state the nature of the transaction and the name and address of the other person concerned; and any such notice shall be sent by registered post or the recorded delivery service.

(5) It is an offence to fail to comply with this section and that offence shall be punishable on summary conviction with imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or both.

S-5 Restriction on sale of ammunition for smooth-bore guns.

5 Restriction on sale of ammunition for smooth-bore guns.

(1) This section applies to ammunition to which section 1 of the principal Act does not apply and which is capable of being used in a shot gun or in a smooth-bore gun to which that section applies.

(2) It is an offence for a person to sell any such ammunition to another person in the United Kingdom who is neither a registered firearms dealer nor a person who sells such ammunition by way of trade or business unless that other person—

(a) produces a certificate authorising him to possess a gun of a kind mentioned in subsection (1) above; or

(b) shows that he is by virtue of that Act or this Act entitled to have possession of such a gun without holding a certificate; or

(c) produces a certificate authorising another person to possess such a gun, together with that person's written authority to purchase the ammunition on his behalf.

(3) An offence under this section shall be punishable on summary conviction with imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or both.

Converted and de-activated weapons

S-6 Shortening of barrels.

6 Shortening of barrels.

(1) Subject to subsection (2) below, it is an offence to shorten to a length less than 24 inches the barrel of any smooth-bore gun to which section 1 of the principal Act applies other than one which has a barrel with a bore exceeding 2 inches in diameter; and that offence shall be punishable—

(a) on summary conviction, with imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT