11 May 2016 – The Home Office has confirmed that it will implement the EU’s damaging and dangerous deactivation standards in spite of growing concerns – even, it seems, from police.
The Police Oracle website, which is an online magazine aimed at serving police employees, reports (registration required) that the Home Office has “clarified” that the de-ac gun ban will “only” apply to de-acs placed on the market.
This is, if not actually untrue, disingenuous. All the Home Office has really done is repeated its initial line, as reported by UK Shooting News: the ban will brand all UK-spec de-acs “defectively deactivated” and make it a criminal offence to sell or even give them away within the EU.
Possession, however, will not be an offence. The only legal way to sell or give away a UK-spec de-ac once the ban comes into force will be to have it re-deactivated to the new EU spec, which involves welding the firearm solid.
UKSN understands that British experts are very worried by this, as welding deactivated firearms solid makes it impossible to check whether internal cutting and welding has been properly carried out. The UK spec allows very limited stripping of deactivated semi- and full-auto firearms, which pleases collectors but also allows the authorities to ensure they really do comply with the specifications.
Police Oracle also reports that the Home Office wants to make it clear that the ban, which it brands a ‘classification change’, will not place any extra burdens on police.
UKSN’s author wonders whether the police could reject an FAC application for a ‘defectively deactivated firearm’ to be held against a collection-only condition.
Sources in the historical reenactment world have told UKSN that some groups are apparently considering whether to ditch de-acs and simply invest in live firearms instead, as it makes international travel for fully-equipped reenactment groups easier. Other groups have complained publicly that the EU diktat has made it impossible for them to travel to WWI commemoration services on the Continent.