Got a de-ac firearm? Not for long you won’t – it’s ‘defectively deactivated’

All UK-spec deactivated firearms will be rebranded “defectively deactivated” and it will be a crime to sell or give them away, if a UK law change to implement an EU diktat passes in its current form.

Clause 105 of the Policing and Crime Bill 2016 will implement the latest EU diktat on deactivated firearms, which came into force from 8th April 2016.

edit at 1645, 26 April, to add: It will implement the diktat by effectively saying “go and read this EU document, this is all now law”. Clause 105 will make a token effort to prevent the EU from making everyone into an overnight criminal. You do not commit any criminal offence by being in possession of UK-spec deactivated firearms, under the EU diktat, because it only applies to de-acs which have been “placed on the market” after 8th April 2016, as it says in its paragraph (1).

That diktat, formally known as “COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) 2015/2403” (catchy name, eh?) is what sets out the new EU-wide deactivation specifications for all firearms. Crucially, the new EU specifications require more damaging of the deactivated firearm than the comprehensive UK laws required.

In particular, magazines of deactivated pistols, repeating rifles (i.e. single shot rifles with a magazine), semi-auto rifles and automatic firearms must be pinned and welded in place, or empty magazine housings permanently blocked through spots of weld being added to prevent the insertion of any magazine. Striker holes must also be welded shut.

UK specifications did not require any of this because magazines are not controlled in this country and chopping the bolt face at 45 degrees is enough to ensure any chambered round would simply blow the case head out backwards if fired.

As the new EU deactivation specifications are an EU Regulation (capital emphasis and all), they are directly enforceable as law in the UK, as the GOV.UK website explains in its glossary of EU legal terms. The Home Office firearms licensing webpage currently says: “All firearms submitted to the Proof Houses from 8 April must comply with this [EU] regulation.”

What does clause 105 mean for my deactivated firearms?

If – or rather, when – clause 105 in its current state becomes law (the Policing and Crime Bill is at its report stage in Parliament, meaning MPs are still discussing it before its final vote and Royal assent), all UK-spec deactivated firearms will be rebranded as ‘defectively deactivated firearms’.

The clause will make it a criminal offence to sell, exchange, barter or give away any ‘defectively deactivated’ firearm. Penalties include a 12 month prison term or a fine “not exceeding the statutory maximum”. The sole exception, however, is if you are selling it (or giving it away) to someone outside the EU, and that includes advertising it online so people abroad can buy it from you.

Clause 105 does not, however, appear to make it a crime to own, possess or acquire one.

The Deactivated Weapons Association has published a statement by their honorary solicitor. The full statement can be read on their website (PDF), but part of it says:

Strictly, the EU Regulation becomes legally binding without the need for further domestic legislation to introduce it into UK law. However, the question arises what sanction could be imposed for failing to comply. On 24th March 2016 a new clause was introduced into the Policing and Crime Bill currently going through Parliament which, if enacted, will give formal effect to this EU Regulation by making it a criminal offence to make available for sale or to sell or gift a ‘defectively deactivated weapon’ i.e. one not deactivated to the EU standard. This offence will be punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment.

However, until such time as this Bill is actually passed as an Act of Parliament and entered on the UK Statute Book, there is in my opinion currently no criminal offence in UK law for which a person could properly be arrested or successfully prosecuted by the Police or other UK law enforcement agencies if they sell or place on the market for sale a deactivated firearm which meets the present UK deactivation standard but fails to comply with the new EU deactivation standards.

Parliament has no authority to pass a new law or amend existing law to protect owners of UK-spec deactivated firearms from the consequences of this EU diktat. EU law is supreme.

Owners of post-2010 deactivated firearms can refer to the original UK specifications here, for interest.

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17 thoughts on “Got a de-ac firearm? Not for long you won’t – it’s ‘defectively deactivated’

  1. Nicholas Harman

    Seems a bit unnecessary as crims have no problem finding working firearms now, so I think the trade in reactivation has gone the way of tata steel. Too much money for the end result.

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    1. TIM

      Agreed, this is completely unnecessary. Vicky Ford has included in her draft that the above referenced EU Diktat, was rushed and technically incompetent. The diktat ignores the fact that the dealers conduct the works and said works are inspected by the Proof Houses. The new spec requires everything to be welded solid, ergo impossible to inspect the work, and crucially, impossible for any law enforcement to check that items are indeed fully decommissioned and not containing a shed load of operational kit with a tack weld concealing everything within.
      I believe that should it all remain as is so to speak, the UK Government is in for a LOT of claims for loss of value and additional expenditure required. They would not have a leg to stand on after all their amateur whole hearted support of the proposition, perhaps sound bite politics was not such a smart move after all. It was also broadcast live by the commission rep that they were looking for ways to avoid compensation payments for any of their “requirements” The EU should have accepted the UK spec and I believe that this is being pushed for or at least recognized as equal. As for welding magazines? Tin box with a pin in it would hardly be much trouble to a crim.
      What truly amazes me is the fact that this spec suggested was actually created by the French Proof House………..who have the lead in proofing within the EU……..god help us if that’s the best they can do…..a five page memo with a couple of tables on what to do. Our specs are 50 pages of details.

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  2. commonlycalledcosmin

    This will of course result in massive black market dealing of existing deacts. I can guarantee that under 10% of deactivated firearms will have the new process done on them. Waste of time and money, just creating more criminals. Contact your MPs and tell them why this clause should be removed from the Police and Crime Bill.

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      1. TIM

        Hi Gaz,
        I understand that the police and crime bill has nothing to do with the spec, the bill is formally looking to enact the “sale and transfer bit” and provide within UK Law a penalty for being in breach. Just trying to put in context a bit of background that the current UK spec is actually better than the EU spec in all regards and for all parties, yet the idiots will not listen to any of the submissions that have been sent in re this amendment, in fact paper work shows it has gone in and formally noted that their was no debate. So in fact our masters are actually stating that a superior spec is “defective” .
        In the meantime, until this is sorted out at the EU end…if enacted no sales can be conducted because the other powers (nabis, home office) have had a look at weapons deactivated to the new EU drivel and said essentially “no way” as they deem them inferior.
        The dealers should sue the buggers for loss of earnings and the owners start screaming for compensation for loss of value.
        I suspect that they are all playing the divide and conquer game and trusting that the entire collecting, reenactment evaporates in some mystical way to avoid paying some serious numbers in compensation.

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  3. Neil Plucknett

    Tried talking to my MP – might as well talk to a brick wall. Rabid anti-gun moron. Never mind the loss of tax revenue from the sales or the number of people likely to lose their jobs over this – she has to be the party apparatchnik. The EU proposals are a joke -but as the EU is run for the benefit of the French and Germans is it any wonder French oroposals get rammed through. 😦 😦

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  4. Bob

    Danm, but I’m grateful to be a citizen and resident of the American colonies!
    You guys should have told Parliament how it is, a long long time ago.
    I understand; we have our ignorant, elitist power-brokers too. We try to change them frequently; like a baby’s diapers, after a time they begin to smell bad.
    I’d like to buy some of the nice old Martini rifles I see advertised in the UK, but I hate to take them out of your people’s hands.

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  5. Muddy fox

    Wait till they hear about Mr Luty’s readily available book on how to make a sub machine gun out of more or less everyday bits and bobs , or one of the Bill Holmes books on building a handgun , a sub machine gun , a 50 cal rifle …….. I sense a book burning purge coming on – I should add though that the books mentioned are for academic study only !

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    1. Gaz Corfield Post author

      Under other provisions in the Policing and Crime Bill you would be a fool to have a downloaded copy of Luty’s book, a de-ac and a Dremel in your possession all at the same time.

      History has shown, time and time again, that if governments and police agencies are handed powers to use then they will use them, regardless of their rights and wrongs. Look at RIPA and the council recycling bin spies.

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  6. Derek Johnson

    It’s easier to make firearms from scratch than tying to make an expensive deactivated firearm go bang. Just type ‘homemade gun’ into Youtube. Even if this ‘crackdown’ was effective (which it won’t be) criminal armorers will simply expand their skills and make perfectly useable garage Sten guns like criminals do in Brazil and Australia.

    http://homemadeguns.wordpress.com

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  7. Anthony Chappell

    Theyre all absolutely crackers making those!! I really wouldn’t want to fire any of those home made jobs,they look like they would blow up!locking someone up for downloading the info is wrong but you have to be daft if you think you’ll not be watched by the authorities if you do.

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  8. Derek

    This is madness, UK proof houses and gun laws the best in the world. Certain EU countries can carry live firearms for protection and they Spring this crap on us.

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