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Antique Firearms Regulations

posted 15 Nov 2020, 07:17 by Tony Cattermole   [ updated 15 Nov 2020, 09:01 ]
From the feedback we have received regarding this since the Statutory Instrument was laid on 9th November, it is evident that not all members look at the News posts, Legislative Updates, etc., on our website.

Whilst this is an effective way of communicating with members, and available for all, it is passive. The Forum is more proactive although limited in who it may reach - this will change when we migrate to a new host.

For that reason I believe that it is worth recapping the process that led up to where we are, and in which we had been involved - indeed we were at its forefront. As you will remember we have been debating this issue strongly for over five years!

In December 2015 the Law Commission Report was published. HBSA as a lead in the stakeholders group, worked closely with them, gave considerable input and especially sought to preserve collectors' interests. The Law Commission, and ourselves included, would have preferred a complete codification of firearms law, that is a full revision, but available resources did not permit this. However the Law Commission accepted our assurance that the system we have is fit for purpose. They accepted the police wish that it should become statutory to avoid ambiguity.

Subsequently we worked with the Home Office, and all parties involved including the police, NaBIS, the Minister and the APPG, speaking at conferences and on BBC’s Panorama.

Members may remember that I also spoke at the EU conference in Brussels regarding the EU Firearms Directive in coordination with FESAC and others. After a battle we felt that we had achieved 80% plus of what we sought.

All this was detailed in Legislative Reports and News posts at the time and as far as circumstances allowed.

The Policing and Crime Act was then published in 2017, establishing the statutory definition of antique, and subject to a Statutory Instrument.

The details of the date, definition of obsolete ignition/propulsion system and obsolete cartridge list have now finally been fixed in the Statutory Instrument just laid, having been delayed by Brexit, and now Covid 19.

As a result of our efforts the date in the guidance was retained. There was pressure to push it back which we resisted and would have been disastrous in its effect. The definition of obsolete propulsion and ignition systems, in which wording the government lawyers had input, does work.

We have always sought to expand the list of obsolete cartridges, with 23 going on. The additions sought are with maximum benefit to collectors in mind. Various others are still in debate and we will be creating a further list of cartridges to go on at next review from the 600 plus that we have listed with the Home Office.

As to the items to come off, we have never agreed that items should be taken off (which the 2017 Act does permit as well as putting items on), however must now face up to the fact that the Minister has taken that decision, notwithstanding all the arguments made. However we did secure the ability of collectors to retain their items on FAC, under section one. We had always insisted that the items remain "trade-able" and it is understood that Section 7.1 or 7.3 may be used, which would enable their heritage and financial values to be preserved as best possible by being moved between collectors or section 5 dealers. Other more flexible potential systems have also been proposed, both during discussions at the time and now. They are with the Home Office and we now await their news with a draft for further discussion.

I hope that this will remind everyone of the long process that went on and the efforts and time involved to secure what we have, often in the face of strong opposition.

Of course we also are working on other issues, together with BSSC, including the proposed Statutory Guidance, including medical evidence, potential prohibition of lead in ammunition, etc., which have been described in Legislative Updates, in addition to supporting members in many ways, especially resolving questions with their FLDs about collecting.

If there are any questions please do not hesitate to email me at chairman@hbsa-uk.org

with best wishes
Derek Stimpson