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Offensive Weapons Bill 2019 Surrender notice

posted 24 Dec 2020, 11:48 by Tony Cattermole   [ updated 24 Dec 2020, 11:49 ]
Members will have seen my earlier notice and link regarding the surrender of Mars and Lever release rifles.

Here is a further note prepared by David Penn for A & A Society which may be of assistance to our members with items mentioned.

Derek Stimpson

Offensive Weapons Act: Surrender of newly-prohibited weapons.

You should download the ‘Home Office Offensive Weapons Act 2019: surrender and compensation scheme for certain firearms and offensive weapons Guidance for surrender and claiming compensation’. The link is: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/offensive-weapons-act-surrender-and-compensation-scheme

Note: for weapons other than firearms this Act applies only to England and Wales. Separate measures will apply to Scotland and Northern Ireland

The surrender period for weapons will run from the 10th December to the 9th March 2021. Those in possession of such weapons should dispose of them before the 9th of March or run the risk of a prison sentence.

The focus has been on procedures for the surrender of modern centrefire rifles of the ‘MARS’ and  ‘Lever Release’ types, but a number of weapons that are not firearms, for instance ‘flick knives (which have been re-defined to include knives that can be opened through a mechanism not in the handle itself) are also banned. Hitherto, simple possession of such weapons was legal but sale or transfer was not. In addition to flick and gravity knives, possession of the following weapons is now banned:  Knuckleduster, swordstick, handclaw, belt buckle knife, push dagger, a sword with a curved blade of 50 centimetres or over in length: a baton (a straight, side-handled or friction-lock truncheon}, a ’disguised knife’ (a concealed blade or point and designed to appear to be an everyday object carried on the person, such as a comb], a ‘hollow kubotan, a shuriken (death star), a ‘balisong’ (butterfly knife), a telescopic truncheon, a blowpipe, a ‘kusari gama’ (a length of rope, cord, wire or chain fastened at one end to a sickle), a ‘kyoketsu shoge’ as above but fastened to a hooked knife. A ‘manrikigusari’ as above with each end of the rope etc fastened to a hard weight or hand grip. Also banned are ‘Zombie’ knives [a blade with a cutting edge, a serrated edge and images or words suggesting that it be used for violence) and ‘spiral’ or ‘cyclone knives’ (a handle, a blade with two or more cutting edges, each of which forms a helix and a sharp point).

Where necessary these weapons are defined in detail in ‘Guidance’.

Defences: A number of defences set out in Section 141 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 will continue to apply to the new offence of possession in private under the new Section 141(1A) of that act:

(i)                  Possession is for the purposes of functions carried out on behalf of the Crown or of a visiting force.

(ii)                Where the weapon is one of historical importance

(iii)               Where it’s in a person’s possession in their capacity as the operator of, or as a person acting on behalf of, a museum or gallery.

(iv)               Where possession is for educational purposes only.

(v)                Where possession is for the purpose only of making the weapon available for the purposes of theatrical performances and the production of films and television programmes.

Further defences are provided for in the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (Offensive Weapons) Order 1988, which leave the collector of bladed weapons in the same position as he has been since 1988.

(i)                  Antiques are exempt from the order and it is therefore not an offence to possess these weapons if they are antique-manufacture more than 100 years ago.

(ii)                 It is a defence to possess swords described in the Order if:

(a) it is shown that the weapon was made before 1954 or was made at any other time according to the traditional methods of making swords by hand.

(b)    It is shown that possession is for religious reasons or for the purpose of making the weapon available for the purposes of use in religious ceremonies for religious reasons.

(c)     It shown that possession is for the purposes only of making the weapon available for, or participating in, a permitted activity-i.e. a historical re-enactment or sporting activity.

(d)    (Da) the person in possession is Sikh and possession is for the purpose only of presenting to another person at a religious ceremony or other ceremonial event

Defences in (d) above ensure the act of ceremonial gifting of the Sikh kirpan can lawfully occur.

Strenuous efforts were made in negotiations to extend the exemption for flick knives and gravity knives manufactured up to 1945, but these failed in the House of Lords.

Compensation: Part H of the Guidance (page 30), is the claims form which deals with compensation. Each of the newly-prohibited weapons listed above is assigned a value. You have the following options:

A: Surrender the weapon (s) but make no compensation claim. You are obliged to submit the form, whether or not you seek compensation.

B. Surrender and claim compensation, accepting the Home Office’s valuations (e.g. £20 for a flick knife, £12 for a sword stick. The Home Office will not consider a claim for less than £30.

C. Surrender but provide your own valuation with reasons and evidence where available.

D. Donate to a museum or gallery. If you decide to go this route, you should start your discussions as soon as possible. In many museums acquisitions are subject to an Acquisitions Committee procedure which may not be quick. You would have only until the 9th March to make the handover. Most museums are in straitened financial circumstances and have shed staff.

Surrender: Each police force will create its own surrender procedure, so the easiest approach is to check its website. An alternative would be to contact its firearms licencing office. The Guidance includes a list of police stations nominated to receive weapons to be surrendered.

DJP 13/12/2020, amended 22/12/2020