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.
This area of the law is complex and varied and ranges from offences of illegal possession of a firearm to the criminal use of a firearm. All firearms offences carry significant convictions, with many offences resulting in a custodial sentence.
If you are accused of committing a firearms offence, you should seek expert legal advice as soon as you are able to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
Firearms licensing and the law
Firearms law seeks to ascertain the intention for an individual wishing to keep a firearm, before the individual undergoes a screening process to determine if they are suitable to possess a firearm in the UK.
A firearms licence will not be granted if the intention or suitability of the individual cannot be determined.
Are firearms illegal in the UK?
Members of the public in the UK are permitted to own rifles and shotguns with a valid licence, but handguns are effectively banned in the UK – with the exception of Northern Ireland.
Firearms held for the purpose of shooting sports are permitted with a licence. Such sports include:
- Clay pigeon shooting
- Target shooting
- Pest control
If an individual is found in possession of a firearm without a valid licence, they will be be charged with committing a criminal offence.
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
- Shooting cases involving trespass
- Wounding others unlawfully
- General advice on appeals, withdrawal or rejection of a certificate
Our highly experienced team can also represent weapon dealers.
If an individual is found guilty of a firearms offence, they 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
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 to 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 as soon as you are able to do so. These are very serious offences with lengthy deterrent sentences being given to those convicted.
Expert legal advice at an early stage can ensure the best possible outcome in your case. 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 who is esperine in firearms cases.
For more information or to discuss an individual case with our team of specialist firearms solicitors, please get in touch or call us on 0333 577 0522.