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Selling deactivated firearms abroad

 
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cybershooters
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 1:16 am    Post subject: Selling deactivated firearms abroad Reply with quote

I get asked this question an awful lot, so I thought I would give some guidance on it.

The market for deactivated firearms is much larger in the UK than it is in pretty much every other country in the world, so frequently (at least in my experience) you can get people asking you if they can buy a deac from you legally even though they live in country X. There's some info about the legal situation with deacs in other countries in the FAQ on the DGCA website, however I don't address this specific issue in it.

So this is how it works:

If you have a firearm that is deactivated in Great Britain to the standards laid down under section 8 of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 (which the vast bulk of them are, it will have had a certificate issued by the Proof House with it that confirms this, if it has), you can obviously sell it to pretty much anyone in Great Britain. The upcoming Violent Crime Reduction Bill does not affect this. (Although it does ban the sale of any deac not done in accordance with the 1988 Act).

If the firearm was deactivated AFTER October 1995 (it will say on the deactivation certificate if it was), then you can legally transfer it to anyone in Northern Ireland also, under the provisions of the Firearms (Northern Ireland) Order 2004. The main caveat here is that ammunition magazines require a firearm certificate to possess in Northern Ireland. What this means is that if you have a magazine that is a component of a deactivated firearm, it's legal to transfer the magazine with the deac, but not separately. I.e. say you have a deactivated pistol, you can sell it to someone in Northern Ireland with the magazine, but you can't sell the magazine to them separately, unless they have an FAC with the appropriate authority for it. Yes, it makes no sense, but that's the law. If the pistol comes with other spare magazines in the box, I frankly have no clue what the legal status of them is, it's a grey area and hasn't been tested in court.

The only other place that recognises the GB deactivation spec in their law is on the island of Jersey, under the Firearms (Jersey) Law 2000. However the Government there has been very vague in explaining how and what it applies to exactly. From what they've told me, anything done post-10/95 is legal there but anything done prior to that I'm not sure about.

Everywhere else (including Guernsey and the Isle of Man) is a grey area, or it's illegal.

I often get e-mails from people in places like Spain, Germany etc. telling me they've bought GB spec deacs. Good for them, but it doesn't mean it's legal for them to do it, it's a grey area. Under UK export law, it's entirely legal to export the gun to them, but their receipt of it may or may not be illegal (and guess who customs is going to call - the police here). Certainly I've been in gun shops in France and Germany where they actually have GB spec deacs on the shelf, but that still doesn't mean they're legal, as France, Germany and every other EU state has their own deactivation specification. I read an article a few years ago in the French magazine "Cibles", in which they said it was probably a good idea to have any GB spec deac re-done to the French spec.

One place where it definitely isn't legal to send deacs to is Hong Kong, I've had a lot of people e-mail me from there. Also, although some Australian States recognise deacs in their State law, Australian Customs laws don't recognise deacs, and they have to be imported under the same legislation as working firearms.

Another popular place for collecting deacs is Canada. However, the Canadian deac specification is significantly different from the GB spec, and there is substantial case law where GB spec deacs have been seized during import into Canada and not returned on appeal. Canadian law bans pistol magazines that hold more than ten rounds, and magazines for machineguns and centrefire semi-automatic rifles that hold more than five rounds, for example. The actual standard used by Canada Customs is in this document: http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/E/pub/cm/d19-13-2/d19-13-2-05-e.html

Some GB spec deacs might meet those standards, or it might be possible to deactivate a firearm so it meets the Canadian and GB spec, but that won't help you unless you're a gunsmith.

I get a lot of enquires from the US also. You can't send a deac to the US, unless the importer has an approved Form 6 import permit, which is impossible to get in most cases unless the applicant is a licensed dealer in firearms (or the importer gets a dealer to act on his behalf). This is because US law defines a firearm as the "frame or receiver" of a firearm, and interstate transfer of firearms except by dealers is prohibited, and that extends to imports also. Anything that incorporates the frame or receiver of a machinegun (or a "non-sporting" firearm, such as most small handguns or military-style semi-automatic rifles and shotguns) is basically banned from import into the US. Even if it's been welded up as part of a post-10/95 deac, ATF doesn't recognise that work as making the receiver inoperable, it has to be torch cut into three pieces.

Be careful! (I know a lot of people reading this aren't resident in GB, but this should give you some idea of the legality of buying from GB).
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Only three things are certain: death, taxes and stupid gun laws.


Last edited by cybershooters on Sun Mar 02, 2008 2:09 am; edited 1 time in total
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metradio



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2006 6:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Selling deactivated firearms abroad Reply with quote

cybershooters wrote:
...If you have a firearm that is deactivated in Great Britain to the standards laid down under section 8 of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 (which the vast bulk of them are, it will have had a certificate issued by the Proof House with it that confirms this, if it has), you can obviously sell it to pretty much anyone in Great Britain. The upcoming Violent Crime Reduction Bill does not affect this...


Interesting that this is not affected by the VCR Bill, can you point me to any references to this??

Mike
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cybershooters
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2006 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Section 36(10) of the VCR Bill.
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metradio



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2006 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cybershooters wrote:
Section 36(10) of the VCR Bill.


To me Steve that just describes the definition of a de-activated firearm, it could still be lumped in with the realistic replicas and made illegal to buy or sell..

Mike
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cybershooters
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2006 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Read the rest of the section and section 34. Deactivated firearms are not included in the definition of a "realistic imitation firearm", and therefore the ban on sale, import and manufacture does not apply to them. There were also copious comments by the Minister of State in the select committee that the Government does not want to include them in the ban.

Quote:
36 Meaning of “realistic imitation firearm”
(1) In section 34 “realistic imitation firearm” means an imitation firearm which—
(a) has an appearance that is so realistic as to make it indistinguishable, for
all practical purposes, from a real firearm; and
(b) is neither a de-activated firearm nor itself an antique.

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cybershooters
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just updated to say, section 38 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 is now the relevant piece of legislation. Read subsections (7) and (10).
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