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European BAN for assault weapons proposed - EVEN IF PERMANENTLY DEACTIVATED

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Some Good news at last. It hopefully means my collection isn't worth zero! In fact it may increase in value now.

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Unfortunately the UK news is less good than the EU news. Here's a couple of recent newsletters from Steven Kendrick of the DGCA:

 

27/01/2017:

"Barring some minor last minute fiddling, this is going to be the text of the

amendments to the Firearms Directive:

http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-14974-2016-INIT/en/pdf

 

 

It's passed out of committee so at this point only amendments on the floor

of Parliament can be made and they would have to be minor to get approval

from the Council and the Commission. It will become law sometime in April

and then it has to be transposed into national legislation within 15 months.

 

 

From the perspective of collectors of deactivated firearms, these are the

practical implications:

 

 

The acquisition of magazines that are intended for use with a centrefire

semi-automatic firearm that hold more than 20 rounds or 10 rounds in the

case of a centrefire semi-automatic "long firearm" (more than 60cm in OAL)

is prohibited - this means you can keep them but you can't buy them.

However if you've got an FAC and you've got authority for a Category B

firearm (e.g. handgun, self-loading rifle/shotgun) that authority will be

withdrawn if you're found in possession of such a magazine (unless you get

authorisation on your FAC for the magazine, which is possible). So in other

words, if you're unlicenced and you've got an AK-47, AR-15, etc. magazine

you can keep them but you can't buy them unless they've been knackered

first, e.g. by permanently pinning the capacity or removing one of the feed

lips.

 

 

Any deac deactivated before April 8th, 2016 is banned from "being placed on

the market", which essentially means any form of transfer except possibly by

bequest. There is a procedure whereby member states can apply to have older

standards recognised as sufficient, best guess is that the Home Office will

apply for equivalency for the post-95 standard, however I can't see them

doing it for pre-95 deacs. So with the pre-95 deacs, you can keep them, but

you can't sell them unless you have them redone to the 2016 standard, or

you're able to export it outside of the EU (which includes Norway, Iceland

and Switzerland for the purposes of this Directive). Only EU member states

and a few other countries can apply for recognition, so if you've got say, a

Russian spec deac, that's basically banned from transfer as well unless you

get it redone to the new 2016 standard.

 

 

They have said they will revisit the 2016 standard to make sure it is

workable due to "technical issues". On the positive side, once the

Directive is implemented, I can't see how they can stop EU/Schengen-wide

trade in deacs anymore. So they may be more knackered, but you'll have more

choice. At least until Brexit, lol.

 

 

Worst of all (yes it gets worse), deacs have been put into Category C of the

directive, i.e. "subject to declaration". What that will lead to I have no

idea, but some sort of registration with the local police at a minimum. So

if you're thinking "how will they know if I sell a pre-95 deac to someone",

the answer is they will know, because you will be legally required to notify

the police".

 

 

And:

 

 

31/01/2017

"I had various responses to the last e-mail I sent out so for the sake of

clarification, here is the actual explanatory text from the European

Parliament:

 

 

"In order to strengthen deactivation regimes, the European Commission

introduced a new deactivation regulation which came into force in April

2016. This sets a single standard for deactivation of firearms. However,

technical implementation issues have arisen and some countries were

concerned that the new standard would be less secure than their previous

national regimes. Following pressure from Parliament, the European

Commission has now re-convened a working group of experts from the EU member

states to review the regulation. The Commission has pledged that a revision

will be completed by early 2017.

 

 

"The introduction of the deactivation regulation caused problems for

legitimate holders of deactivated firearms such as historical re-enactors

and those involved in film making etc, as it prohibits them from selling or

transferring across borders any items deactivated prior to April 2016 unless

the items are re-deactivated to the new standard, which is not technically

possible in many cases. Following pressure from Parliament there will now

be a process to assess national standards in use prior to April 2016. If

the standards are accepted by the working group and Commission as

equivalent, then items deactivated to that previous regime will be able to

be bought, sold and transferred without requiring further modification",

explained Vicky Ford (ECR, UK).

 

 

The Commission proposed that all deactivated firearms would become subject

to the same registration and authorisation procedures as firearms. This was

rejected by the co-legislators. Instead the negotiators agreed that newly

deactivated firearms should be categorised in Category C and need to be

declared to national authorities but will not require an authorisation or

licence. This will not apply to existing deactivated firearms."

 

 

Okay so that makes it all sound clear, but there are some problems with it.

 

 

First problem is that the actual text of the amended Directive is vague on

the grandfather clause that is mentioned, it says essentially every

deactivation done to the new regulation has to be declared to the

authorities and then goes on to say member states can apply for their older

specifications to be recognised as "equivalent". So if the application is

granted, it's not clear on whether they then become retroactively subject to

declaration.

 

 

Second and more important problem is that in the House of Lords, the Home

Office have fiddled with the amendments to the Firearms Act in the Policing

and Crime Bill - before it said everything had to be done to the new EU spec

to be legal to sell, it now says that the British specifications that "apply

at the time" are the ones that matter. Part of this is because the current

UK spec is not exactly the same as the EU spec, but it's also because the HO

guidance on various things to do with deacs has weak legal underpinnings so

they want the law changed (also because of Brexit but that's not as big of a

reason as the HO is making it out to be). My opinion is that the UK won't

bother to seek to have the older specs recognised as equivalent to the EU

spec because there's no point - under the Firearms Act as amended you would

have to update your deac to the latest specification in order to be able to

sell or gift it anyway. And thus it would have to be declared to the

authorities.

 

 

I wouldn't panic too much about this "declaration" bit, they're not talking

about licencing, it's likely to be some sort of simple form/letter/e-mail

you send into the local police.

 

 

But unfortunately, anything pre-April 2016 has been effectively rendered

worthless unless you update it to the latest spec or export it outside of

the EU/Schengen area. Even if the Home Office applies for EU equivalency

for pre-95 deacs (unlikely), the amendments to UK law that they have written

mean you've got to deactivate it again in order to sell it. And then,

theoretically they could move the goalposts again arbitrarily at some point

in the future and render the gun worthless again. (And it's too late to

rush out to sell off your older deacs now, the EU regulations from last year

are already in force).

 

 

Just be aware of who is screwing you over here, the EU has provided a

convoluted way to transfer your older spec deacs, the Home Office however

has prevented that. The Policing and Crime Bill is very close to becoming

law so it's too late to write to MPs I'm afraid. It might be possible to

change it later on (e.g. when the Directive is transposed into domestic

law). Look on the bright side - at least they've let you keep the things".

 

 

The UK legislation can be found here:

 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2017/3/section/128/enacted

 

Which could make for some interesting court cases: for the majority of pre-2016 spec deacts, declaring them to be 'defectively deactivated' would be an error of physical fact.

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I think the old spec owners and collectors will be OK, if you read into it regarding the sale of such deacts, it sates a country outside the EU........ we will be in 3-5 years, or maybe sooner.

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I think the old spec owners and collectors will be OK, if you read into it regarding the sale of such deacts, it sates a country outside the EU........ we will be in 3-5 years, or maybe sooner.

 

You are correct it's in the small print that as soon as we leave the EU we can sell old spec deacts again, does not help the dealers who have current stock etc, or anyone that needs to sell in the meantime.

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You are correct it's in the small print that as soon as we leave the EU we can sell old spec deacts again, does not help the dealers who have current stock etc, or anyone that needs to sell in the meantime.

 

True, but is a saving grace for some and all is not lost, as for the dealers then its just stock that will probably be more of an investment or they could right it off as a loss...... on their tax return.

 

Some dealers are still selling Old Spec stuff.........

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I think the chance of the deact-laws going back after Brexit to as they were before the Regulation are about zero.

 

The best hope is that new-spec deacts are declared as being equal to the Regulation and as such are considered deactivated to Regulation specs, so they can be owned, sold and bought on the free market.

 

No chance that will happen with old spec deacts, so I'm sure there will be a underground market for those. What that affects there value is anyone's guess at the moment....

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A further update from Steven Kendrick of the DGCA:

 

 

 

 

"So this has now been enacted, section 128 is the bit that deals with

deactivated firearms:

 

 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2017/3/section/128/enacted

 

 

If you read through that it's not entirely clear what it means. Subsection

4© effectively makes it an offence to transfer a deac that isn't done to

the current spec., and by "current spec." I mean the June 13th, 2016 Home

Office spec. This is a different spec. to the April 2016 spec., which is

the EU spec. So taken as a whole, what it basically says is, it's illegal

to sell or gift a deactivated firearm inside the EU, unless it's done to the

current British spec.

 

 

Which makes no sense, because the British spec. is not the EU spec. They're

similar but there are differences.

 

 

The Home Office have attempted to give me clarification and their

clarification is very vague. What they appear to be saying is this: if the

UK leaves the EU, then the section becomes meaningless, because then all

transfers would be outside the EU and thus the section doesn't apply. If

the UK stays in the EU, they're going to try and get the European Commission

to adopt the current UK spec. and thus the two specifications will be the

same, and then they're going to apply for the earlier 2010 spec. to also be

recognised as sufficient so those can be transferred as well.

 

 

The reason they're being vague in my opinion is because (a) they came up

with their spec. prior to the referendum thus this whole thing has gotten

muddled as they didn't expect a "leave" vote and (b) they don't want to

admit they now have a contingency plan for either event.

 

 

What is noticeable to me is they appear to have no intention of applying for

any spec. prior to 2010 to be recognised as sufficient. But that only

matters if the UK stays in the EU.

 

 

Anyway the key point is that up until the UK leaving the EU, it's illegal to

sell or gift any deactivated firearm unless it's done to the current spec. -

once the section comes into force and the Home Office tells me that will be

in "the next couple of months" (but it's already illegal under European law

if the deac. is prior to April 2016). Note they've made it into an

indictable offence, so you can get 5 years in prison for violating it,

unlike with realistic imitation firearms where the maximum penalty is only

51 weeks".

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What a mess! But at least we're still allowed to own deacs.

 

Andy

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The bottom line of it is that the whole thing is unpoliceable so long as there is no requirement to register or license deac 'weapons'. The authorities have no idea who owns what and so long as that remains, people will be able do what they want providing they are 'careful' with whom they deal with. I am not advocating anyone doing anything illegal, but the whole knee jerk farce is open to 'abuse'. You can take that how you like.

 

Regards

Bob

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Posted (edited)

It might encourage the dealers to lower their prices once in a while to sell off what could be unsellable in a few months time, better jam today than thin gruel tomorrow. In other words sell the problem on...

Edited by Whittingham warrior

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