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Change in the law affecting RFDs and Computerised Records

posted 15 Mar 2014, 04:18 by The Historical Breechloading Smallarms Association   [ updated 15 Mar 2014, 04:19 ]

FROM: HOME OFFICE, CHAIR OF FELWG, GTA, BASC and BSSC

TO: Firearms Licensing Managers and Registered Firearms Dealers

DATE: 11 March 2014

Notice of a change in law affecting Registered Firearms Dealers and Computerised Records – EU Weapons Directive 2008/51

EU Weapons Directive 2008/51 states that from 31 December 2014:

“Member states shall ensure the establishment and maintenance of a computerised data filing system, either a centralised system or a decentralised system which guarantees to authorised authorities access to the data-filing system in which each firearm subject to the Directive shall be recorded.

This filing system shall record and maintain for no less than 20 years each firearm’s type, make, model, calibre and serial number, as well as the names and addresses of the supplier and the person acquiring or possessing the firearm.

Throughout their period of activity, dealers shall be required to maintain a register in which all firearms subject to this Directive and which are received or disposed of by them shall be recorded, together with such particulars as enable the firearm to be identified and traced, in particular the type, make, model, calibre and serial number thereof and the names and addresses of the persons supplying and acquiring it.

Upon the cessation of his activities, the dealer shall deliver the register to the national authority responsible for the filing system provided for in sub-paragraph 1.”

The Home Office will amend section 40 of the Firearms Act, by way of a Statutory Instrument, to mandate the introduction of computerised registers and the requirement that registers are maintained so that each entry is kept for 20 years and not five years as currently required.

What does this mean?

This means that from 31 December 2014, paper based records will not be acceptable and dealers will be required to keep a register on a computerised filing system for a minimum of 20 years.

Firearms dealers will not be required to record anything more or less than they are already required to do. The only difference for firearms dealers will be the way that they are required to hold their records and the length of time they must hold them for.

It is already a requirement of rule 10(5) of the Firearms Rules 1998 for the quantities and description of the weapons or ammunition sold or transferred to be entered into a dealer’s register but they are not required to enter the areas in which the firearm certificates were issued, and the dates of the several transactions if the purchaser or transferee is a dealer. It is generally understood that for dealer to dealer transactions it is usual for the firearms dealers’ certificate of registration number to be entered e.g. MET157.

As there is no express wording to that effect in Article 4(4) of the 1991 Directive (as amended) we are satisfied that there is not a requirement for back records to be computerised.

Questions

Q: When do I need to begin recording my records electronically?

A. From 31 December 2014.

Q: I do not have a computerised system so what do I need to do?

A. You need to make arrangements to introduce a computerised system. Paper based records will not be acceptable from 31 December 2014.

Q: Will I need to put all my paper records on the electronic system?

A. There is no instruction in the Directive for this to happen though you may opt to enter your existing stock to ensure you have an audit trail of all the items in your possession as at 31 December 2014.

Q: I already have a computerised system is there anything more that I need to do?

A. If you already have a computerised system that records the information as required under the Firearms Act then the key difference for you is that from 31 December this year records must be kept for a minimum of 20 years.

Q: Do I need to record anything differently than I am at the moment?

A. The requirements in Article 4(4) for what has to be recorded are already covered by section 40 and schedule 4 of the Firearms Act 1968 and Part IV of Schedule 5 to the Firearms Rules 1998. As such, there is no change required in relation to the detail of what is recorded.

Q: Is there anything else I should be aware of?

A. When keeping electronic records individuals should also be aware of the principles of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the requirement to protect information that they hold.