Firearms in the UK are tightly controlled. Almost all firearms, with a few exceptions, must be licensed. Licences, known as Firearm Certificates (FAC) run for five years and are issued by the Police. Shotguns are governed by Shotgun Certificates. To own a firearm you must have a legitimate "sporting, collecting or work-based reason".
Firearm Certificate Lawyers
This department is led by Laura Saunsbury, an experienced criminal solicitor, whose personal interest in shooting has led her to specialise in firearms and to establish strong links with the leading barristers and expert witnesses in this field. Our expertise in firearms includes:
- Advising and representing registered firearms dealers and individual certificate holders in connection with all aspects of firearms and shotgun licensing including grant, refusal, renewal or revocation of certificates
- Negotiations with firearms licensing authorities and the Proof Houses
- Advising firearms dealers and gunsmiths on the sale and manufacture of all types of firearms
- Advice and representation in relation to the sale, purchase and ownership of firearms, deactivated weapons, knives, batons and associated articles
- Representation in court proceedings for those accused of serious criminal offences relating to the possession or use of firearms and weapons
- Advice and representation at police stations for those being detained under investigation in relation to such matters
Taking legal advice at an early stage can sometimes avoid a firearms license holder having their certificate revoked or not renewed. Even where revocation has already taken place, we may, through written negotiation with the Police, be able to persuade them to reconsider their decision, thereby avoiding the costly and stressful process of an appeal to the Crown Court.
Where a full appeal is necessary, we have considerable experience, and success, in handling them. It should be noted that Legal Aid is not available for advice and representation in connection with firearms licensing matters and therefore such cases will need to be privately funded, either by the individual, or where available, through an appropriate insurance scheme.
Firearm Offence Solicitors
The other area of our expertise concerns criminal offences involving firearms and other weapons. The banning of pistols under the Firearms Act 1997, the reclassification of Brocock-type air weapons, and the introduction of draconian penalties for the possession of prohibited weapons, have done little to reduce violent gun crime in the UK. However, it has made the law as to the classification and status of firearms extremely complex and inaccessible for the lay person. Increasingly, we find ourselves representing people who might be dealers in or collectors of antique firearms, militaria, deactivated and replica weapons, who, having made a genuine mistake as to the legal status of a particular item, are faced with the prospect of a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment.
We have an extremely good success rate in avoiding a prison sentence on behalf of clients in such cases. Legal Aid is available for criminal investigations and prosecutions, subject to meeting the relevant eligibility criteria.
Please refer to our case list to see some of our successful results in this field.
Contact our Top Criminal Defence Solicitors
For further information or to speak to one of our top criminal defence solicitors please telephone us on 020 7387 2032, complete our online enquiry form or contact Laura Saunsbury, Leila Abdul-Rasool, Miles Herman, Tony Meisels, or Keith Wood.