Have you been accused of a firearms offence? At Lawtons we have a specialist team of solicitors who are dedicated to understanding the law surrounding gun possession and illegal firearms in the UK.
It is urgent that you seek expert legal advice as soon as possible to ensure the best outcome for your case, by calling our team today on 0333 577 0522.
What does UK law say about firearms?
This area of the law is complex and varied. It ranges from offences such as illegal possession of a firearm to the criminal use of a firearm. However, all firearms offences carry significant convictions, with many offences resulting in a custodial sentence and some offences carrying a 5-year minimum prison sentence.
How are firearms licensed in the UK?
Firearm legislation requires a police authority to establish intention for an individual wishing to keep a firearm, before they then undergo a screening process to determine if they are suitable.
A firearms licence will not be granted if the intention or suitability of the individual cannot be determined.
What types of firearms ownership are permitted in the UK?
Firearms held for the purpose of shooting sports are permitted with a licence. Such sports include:
- Clay pigeon shooting
- Target shooting
- Pest control
What types of firearms offences are there?
The specialist team of solicitors at Lawtons can represent you in an array of firearms cases including:
- Shooting incidents resulting in criminal charges
- Shooting club licences
- Weapon dealers
- Shooting cases involving trespass
- Wounding others unlawfully
- General advice on appeals, withdrawal or rejection of a certificate
What is the sentence for a firearms offence?
If an individual is found guilty of a firearms offence, they can face a term of imprisonment. The minimum term is five years for certain specified offences, with a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Several factors will be taken into consideration when a sentence for a firearms conviction is decided upon, including:
- The type of the firearm itself – whether it is a handgun, shotgun or automatic weapon
- Whether the firearm was found loaded or with the intention to use it
- Whether the firearm has been adapted in any way
What are aggravating factors in a firearms case?
Aggravating factors will also be taken into account when sentencing for a firearms offence, including:
- Any previous criminal convictions
- The use of illegal firearms in other criminal convictions such as robbery
What should you do if you are accused of committing a firearms offence?
If you are accused of committing an offence involving a firearm, you should seek specialist legal advice immediately. These are very serious offences with lengthy deterrent sentences given to those convicted.
Expert legal advice at an early stage can ensure the best possible outcome. If you are legally entitled to use a firearm, you are more likely to be able to retain your licence with the expert advice of a specialist solicitor.
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Are firearms illegal in the UK?
Members of the public in the UK are permitted to own rifles and shotguns but only with a valid licence, but handguns are effectively banned in the UK (with the exception of Northern Ireland).
Is possessing an unlicensed firearm an offence even if you don’t use it?
If an individual is found in possession of a firearm without a valid licence, they will be charged with committing a criminal offence.
Can someone with a criminal record apply for a firearms licence?
As of 2014, if someone receives a suspended sentence of 3 months or more they will not be able to purchase or possess a firearm or ammunition for a period of 5 years from the second day after sentence.
A person who has served or received a custodial criminal sentence will not be able to possess a firearm.