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The UK shooting community was pushed into the spotlight on Monday evening when BBC Panorama aired a documentary titled ‘Legal Weapon’ looking into the exploitation of weak antique firearm laws which resulted in many people gaining easy access to guns that could then be used for criminal activity. The shooting community is urging people to use their firearms responsibly and correctly, and we at Gunstar are reminding every user that we are in constant cooperation with law enforcement to pursue a friendly shooting environment.
Currently, two factors that classify an antique are any firearm manufactured in the 1930’s or earlier and as long as there is clear evidence that no ammunition is still available or in production for it. Provided these two criteria are met, it is then very straightforward to gain legal ownership of these. To most of the population, this isn’t an issue, as you’d have an antique weapon without any appropriate ammunition to use it with, but certain individuals have knowledge of how to craft bullets for these guns and use them for their original purpose. In fact, many criminal cases over the past few years involving guns have been subject to the antique weapons loophole.
In 2015 a registered arms dealer from Gloucester named Paul Edmunds was arrested for actively obtaining these guns with the intention of exposing the public to them. He was distributing antique firearms throughout London and Birmingham so that people could use them as active weapons. Several murder cases have been traced back to Edmunds’ guns. He has since been sentenced to 30 years in prison. In the aftermath of this conviction and the wider scandal, the police force and the NABIS are urging authorities to make big changes to current regulations in an attempt to close this loophole. They’re wanting the definition of the word ‘antique’ to be made explicitly clear and more refined, with changes to the manufacture date moving from 1939 to 1900. This would eliminate many more firearms that have similar cartridge and ammunition systems to modern day weapons, which would make it much harder to produce ammunition for them. As well as this, the government will also consider making it a requirement to get a license for any antique weapon that still has the potential to pose a threat to the public.
The UK has prided itself on having some of the toughest gun laws in the world and keeping it that way is essential in preserving our outstanding statistics as a nation. This story has sparked much interest from the public and searches for ‘Antique Guns’ on our site were at an all-time high over the past few days - suggesting that the programme has affected a huge number of people.
We’d like to remind you that our terms and conditions state “Gunstar cooperates with law enforcement inquiries, as well as other third parties to enforce laws. We can (and you authorise us to) disclose any information about you to law enforcement or other government officials as we believe necessary or appropriate, in connection with an investigation or other activity that is illegal or may expose us or you to legal liability. This includes your User ID, name, address, country, phone number, email, and company name to Gunstar.”
Gunstar Director Joel Kidger says “We’ve enjoyed seeing shooting sports and hobbies grow in popularity over the years and its awareness can only continue to grow if a positive impression of shooting remains in the public eye. We encourage you to be responsible in the way you own and use guns and by using our site, you commit yourself to appropriate usage as well as consent to share your personal information.”
The BBC documentary tells you everything you need to know when making sure you stay safe within the community allowing you to use your guns responsibly.