Government to block antique gun licence loophole

The new measures target antique firearms used in violent crime and mean that up to 26,000 guns will now require firearms licences.

Loopholes exploited by criminals to use antique firearms in violent crime will be closed by new laws introduced today (Monday 9 November).

The antique firearms exemption allows collectors and dealers to possess and trade in old firearms which no longer present a danger to the public, but evidence shows this is being exploited for criminal use.

Seven ammunition types will be removed from the definition of ‘antique firearm’, making up to 26,000 guns that use them illegal to own without a firearms licence.

According to the National Ballistics Intelligence Service, there has been a sharp rise in the number of antique guns being seized from crime scenes in recent years.

In 2007 there were four recoveries, which grew to 97 in 2016 and remain at high levels with 69 recovered in 2019.

Since 2007, six fatalities have been linked to antique firearms.

Existing owners of the firearms that will be affected by these regulations can apply for a firearm certificate.

They can also sell, deactivate or surrender these firearms ahead of the law changing, which will take place shortly after Parliament approves the legislation.

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