Gun Law & Firearm OffencesMeet the team
Possession of an Offensive Weapon Offences
Please get in contact with DPP Law’s firearm offences solicitors if you have been arrested on suspicion of – or charged with – the illegal use or possession of a gun.
Our team has a great deal of experience in defending cases of this kind, and will be able to support and represent your from the time of your arrest right through to the end of proceedings. We will also defend you in a court of law and ensure that all existing evidence of your innocence is properly considered.
The laws around firearms are complicated, and more licenses are being refused or revoked every year. Whether you own a firearm as part of your employment as a farmer, a professional shooter or a weapons dealer, or in the capacity of a gun club member or a collector, there may come a time when your right to its possession is questioned or contested by authorities. At this point, we recommend getting in touch with gun law solicitors to help you.
Furthermore, as a result of the current rise in knife crime and the unlawful use of other weaponry, it is now more likely than ever that individuals will be arrested for offences related to this particular type of weapon. If you have been accused of any illegal behaviour involving weapons, you should seek out advice from our weapons solicitors at your earliest convenience.
Charges of Offensive Weapon Offences and Their Implications
Section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968 states that the maximum possession of a firearm sentence currently sits at a 10 year prison term. The same sentence applies to the illegal importing or supply of ammunition and arms, including guns.
If a person has committed a first offence of carrying a knife, they may be fined or, at worst, sentenced to up to 6 months’ in custody. Repeat offenders may face a maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment. The same applies to anything that could be considered an “offensive weapon”.
There are a number of definitions of an “offensive weapon”, which fall into three separate categories. Category 1 is considered the most serious, and covers items that have been made for the primary purpose of causing harm, such as flick knives, nunchucks and knuckle dusters.
Category 2 refers to home-made or adapted weapons, such as sharpened sticks and bags or socks containing heavy items that may be used to swing at victims. Category 3 refers to “everyday” items that are not adapted but could be used to cause harm, such as containers of acid or hockey sticks.
It is only the second category that requires proof that the individual carrying the item did so with the intention to use it to cause harm at the time.
There can be reasons for which a person may be found in possession of a potential weapon that do not amount to offensive weapon offences. These include occasions where the individual in question has just confiscated the item or retained it briefly after detaining it from another person, found the item and is on the way to hand it in to the police, or has just purchased the item and is transporting it to a safe place.
You may be charged with firearms or offensive weapon offences if you are suspected of any of the following:
- The illegal possession of firearms or other offensive weapons
- The criminal use of firearms or other offensive weapons
- The illegal conversion of weapons
- The possession and use of air guns
- The possession and use of imitation firearms
- The possession and use of antique firearms
- The possession and use of illegal weapons or firearms
- The illegal importation of firearms or other offensive weapons
- Underage possession of a firearm or other offensive weapon
If you are arrested for any of the above acts, you should get in touch with experienced weapons solicitors or firearm offences solicitors as soon as possible to avoid a knife crime charge or possession of a firearm sentence.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the penalty for possession of an illegal firearm?
The Home Office currently oversees regulations in relation to air weapons. Currently, a license is not required to purchase most air weapons, but depending on the circumstance under which one is used or carried, the police may still consider it an offensive weapon.
In order to be deemed legal, the weapon in question cannot be owned by anyone under the age of 14 or bought by anyone under 18. It must have a muzzle energy of no more than 12ft.lb for air rifles and 6ft.lb for air pistols, and those with self-contained gas cartridges can no longer be legally purchased.
If you are accused of the illegal possession or use of an air weapon, you should seek out firearm offences solicitors who can help you.
Will past convictions affect my ability to gain a firearm certificate?
This depends on the type of conviction and the sentence you served. If it was a custodial or suspended sentence of more than 3 months and less than 3 years, you will need to wait 5 years until you will be able to successfully apply for a license.
If your sentence was longer than 3 years, you will never be permitted to hold a firearm license unless you apply to the Crown Court and they approve your request. Gun law solicitors can help you to do this. All previous convictions – both spent and unspent – will be visible when you apply for a license.
Is illegal possession of a firearm a felony?
Illegal possession of a firearm is usually charged as a misdemeanour. However, being found in possession of a firearm can count as a felony offence in some situations. The end result will have a direct impact on your sentence if you’re found guilty, with a misdemeanour leading to up to a year in jail, and a felony leading to at least a year or more in jail.
Whether you are having trouble fighting your corner when it comes to the legal possession of a firearm or you have been accused of the illegal possession, use or transportation of a gun or other offensive weapon, you should contact the weapon and gun law solicitors at DPP Law today. We’ll use our expertise to help you see justice done.
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