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Question for Home Office

UIN HL868, tabled on 8 June 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their latest assessment of the threat posed by repurposed previously decommissioned firearms.

Answered on

21 June 2021

This country has some of the toughest firearms controls in the world to safeguard against abuse by criminals and terrorists and to preserve public safety.

There were six recorded offences involving reactivated handguns in England and Wales in the year ending March 2020, a decrease from 11 compared with the previous year. In the same period, there was one offence involving a weapon recorded as an “other reactivated weapon”, a decrease from two in the previous year.

The controls on deactivated firearms have been strengthened in recent years. New technical specifications for deactivated firearms were introduced in 2016. The aim was to set standards which would render deactivated weapons irreversibly inoperable. The specifications were updated again in 2018. To enforce these standards, the Policing and Crime Act 2017 created a specific new offence of selling or gifting a weapon that had not been deactivated to the new specifications. The current deactivation standards are published on GOV.UK.

The Firearms Regulations 2019 further strengthened the controls through the requirement for owners of deactivated firearms to notify the Home Office regarding the possession and transfer of permanently deactivated firearms.

Our firearms law is kept under constant review to safeguard against abuse by criminals and to preserve public safety and we will not hesitate to act whenever the need arises.

Answered by

Home Office