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APR
22

Laura Saunsbury Appointed Honorary Solicitor of the Deactivated Weapons Association

deactivated weaponsOur firearms expert Laura Saunsbury has just been made Honorary Solicitor of a new organisation called the Deactivated Weapons Association.

Laura is already Honorary Solicitor to the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association since 2009, and in 2011 she co-authored The British Firearms Law Handbook.

For specialist advice on UK firearms law contact us on 020 7387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here.

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JUN
04

CPSA Members Now Have Legal Expenses Insurance to Cover Shotgun Certificate Revocation

cpsaOn 1 April 2014 the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association extended its insurance for members to include legal expenses in the event of the Police revoking or refusing to renew their shotgun certificate. Our firearms law legal expert Laura Saunsbury has been the CPSA Honorary Solicitor since 2009 and has found that, as the Police have taken an increasingly rigorous approach to firearms licensing in recent years, there have been growing numbers of shotgun and firearm certificate holders in need of specialist advice and representation.

Laura was closely involved in the CPSA’s introduction and development of the legal expenses policy for its members.

For an overview of the insurance scheme, click here to read Laura's latest article in the CPSA members’ magazine, Pull!, or find further information on the CPSA’s website.

The Police are well aware that some individuals may be discouraged from pursuing a perfectly valid appeal to the Crown Court purely because of the costs involved. This legal expenses insurance, and a very similar policy introduced by BASC recently for its members, are therefore a very welcome development in protecting the rights of law abiding shooters. These policies will enable Laura Saunsbury and Lewis Nedas to assist more certificate holders than ever before.

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DEC
06

Another Outstanding Success By LNL Specialist Firearms Law Legal Team

 

At Nottingham Crown Court on 3 December 2013, Rebecca Draper, Managing Director of the long established family business, Drapers Airgun Centre in Nottingham, was cleared of all charges in relation to allegations of supplying component parts of prohibited firearms.

The Police and Prosecution were hoping this was in some way going to be a test case as to whether a firing pin is classified in law as a ’component part’ of a firearm, and therefore subject to the same controls as the complete firearm to which the part belongs. However, that flies in the face of custom and practice in the gun trade since at least 1937. Laura Saunsbury, our specialist firearms law solicitor, and expert firearms barrister Nick Doherty, who together make a formidable legal team, were recommended to Rebecca Draper by the Gun Trade Association, the trade body for gun dealers in the UK. Through meticulous preparation, and working closely with the best expert witnesses in the country, Laura and Nick were able to undermine the validity of the Prosecution case to such an extent that it could not proceed.

In entering not guilty verdicts on all charges and discharging Miss Draper, the Judge commented the defence lawyers had obviously investigated the matter very carefully. Rebecca Draper and her family were absolutely delighted with the result. As she and her father, Christopher Draper, left court they agreed to be interviewed briefly by the press. In expressing her gratitude to us, Miss Draper stated “We obviously got the best team of firearms lawyers in the country. I can’t thank you enough; you don’t know what you’ve done for me and my family”.

Published with the kind permission of our client. Below, Miss Draper outside court after being acquitted with firearms barrister Nick Doherty.

Pic for LRS

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JUN
27

Laura Saunsbury Comes to the Aid of Firearm & Shotgun Certificate Holders

Our firearms law specialist Laura Saunsbury has been instructed in a number of cases recently where certificate holders have been the subject of review by their local police firearms licensing department.

Long delays by the police in processing reviews and renewals are becoming an increasingly common problem in the current climate of government cutbacks. Over the past year or two many police firearms licensing departments have had redundancies leading to reduced staffing levels, particularly following mergers of the licensing departments of two adjoining police forces, which has been taking place in many parts of the country.

In one recent case Laura Saunsbury was instructed by a keen shooter in East Anglia whose shotguns and certificate were seized from him by the police following a malicious allegation by his ex-partner. Although our client was never even arrested for any criminal offence, some 5 months later he was still trying to get answers from the licensing department as to why they were continuing to retain his shotguns and certificate, and when they might be returned to him. He decided it was time to engage the help of a solicitor experienced in firearms licensing law to resolve his situation. Laura then wrote a firm letter to the police on our client's behalf, and just two weeks later our client's shotgun certificate and his prized guns were delivered back to him. Needless to say, our client was delighted and considered the legal fees involved worth every penny.

The difficulties this client faced in getting answers from his local firearms licensing department are not uncommon, and his 5 month wait is by no means exceptional. We have had other clients who have waited even longer.

If you are experiencing significant delays in your shotgun or firearm certificate being reviewed or renewed by the police, we can help. For specialist advice on these and other firearms licensing issues, contact Laura Saunsbury.

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JUN
25

National Recommendations for Firearms Licensing Published by IPCC – by Laura Saunsbury

On 14 June 2013 the Independent Police Complaints Commission published a report making national recommendations for firearms licensing following its investigation into the circumstances surrounding the fatal shootings in Durham on New Year's Day 2012 by shotgun and firearm certificate holder Michael Atherton. The investigation concluded that Durham Police Constabulary had missed several opportunities to review and reassess Mr Atherton's suitability as a certificate holder.

The IPCC report goes on to make national recommendations for shotgun and firearm certificate holders to be subject to a more regular review of their suitability and personal circumstances, rather than simply every five years when certificates fall due for renewal. The proposal is that all certificate holders would be subject to this closer scrutiny, regardless of whether any particular incident or concern about an individual has been brought to the attention of their local firearms licensing department.

The IPCC recommendations include a suggestion for national guidance to be produced for police forces in relation to how they conduct and process reviews of certificate holders. This would certainly have the benefit of producing more consistency of approach across the country as well as greater clarity for certificate holders and indeed members of the public.

The IPCC argues that a minimum requirement of any certificate holder review should be for the individual to be subject to a further home visit and interview by the local firearms enquiry officer. This would seem to be an eminently sensible approach and should help to minimise the number of instances of revocation and refusal decisions being taken by the police without first inviting the certificate holder to offer any explanation or response to the police concerns.

These are no doubt all quite laudable recommendations, but one wonders how police firearms licensing departments would manage to implement them in practice, given they are already struggling in the wake of redundancies and/or mergers of the licensing departments of two adjoining police forces to simply process new certificate applications and five yearly reviews on renewal!

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