Unauthorised Possession or Use of a Pistol or Prohibited Firearm is an offence under Section 7 of the Firearms Act 1996 which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.
To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:
Section 4 of the Act provides that you are in ‘possession’ if:
Section 4A makes clear that possession encompasses where the item is in or on any premises you own, lease or occupy, or in your care, control or management, unless you satisfy the court that:
‘Premises’ means any place, vehicle, vessel or aircraft.
A ‘firearm’ defined as:
A gun, or other weapon, that is or was, capable of propelling a projectile by means of an explosive, and includes a blank fire firearm, or an air gun, but does not include a paintball marker.
A ‘pistol’ is a firearm that:
Schedule 1 of the Act contains a long list of ‘prohibit firearms’ which include:
Section 4D makes clear that it includes an ‘imitation firearm’ which is an object that, regardless of its colour, weight or composition, or the presence or absence of any moveable parts, substantially duplicates in appearance a firearm, but is not a firearm. It does not include an object produced and identified as a children’s toy.
Defences to the charge include:
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