Our firearms solicitors have exceptional experience in the complexities of firearms law, regulation and the law covering explosives.
Reeds Solicitors provide support and advice on a wide range of issues surrounding firearms and explosives. For tailored advice on your situation, contact us today through our contact page here. Alternatively you can call us on 0333 240 7373 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The law governing ownership, use and licensing of firearms in the UK is extremely complex. Failure to comply with the requirements of a licence can result in a custodial sentence and revocation of the licence. This will make the likelihood of future applications being successful far less likely. As such it is recommended that you seek the advice of specialist firearms solicitors, tailored to your situation.
Firearms Licensing Solicitor
Seeking for advice on any matter relating to licensing early can help avoid certificates from not being renewed and revoked. There are many reasons why you may need a solicitor to help with firearms licensing.
- Firearms (and shotgun) certificate applications
- Refusals and revocations of certificates
- Appeals against a revocation of certificate
- Licensing for shooting clubs.
Whilst Legal Aid is not available for licensing matters, our Firearms solicitors would be happy to discuss a fixed fee for representation.
Firearms Offence Solicitor
If you are arrested on allegations of a firearms offence, early legal advice is crucial. Any offence involving a firearm can carry tough custodial sentences due to the severity.
Reeds Solicitors can provide expert advice and Top Tier representation if you are facing allegations for firearms offences. Specialist firearms solicitors can liaise with top firearms experts to ensure you have the best defence possible.
Reeds have a presence across the country, and our team can represent clients in courts across England and Wales. Our team have expertise in a range of firearms offences, including:
- Antique and de-activated firearms and weapons
- Possession of imitation firearms
- Conversion of replica guns to live firearms
- Illegal conversion of weapons
- Criminal use of firearms
- Illegal importation of firearms
- Importation of Taser Torches
- Hunting and Poaching offences
Explosives Law and Offences
The main explosive offences relate to:
- Endangering life or causing damage to property with explosives or explosions;
- Unsafe manufacture, acquisition and/or storage of explosive substances in the workplace;
- Use of explosive articles in connection with terrorist activity;
- Possession of explosives precursors (i.e. items used in the making of explosive devices).
Any offence involving explosives is likely to be taken very seriously, with some of the most serious offences carrying the penalty of life imprisonment.
The reality is that, whilst many of us will never have contemplated the idea of possessing explosives, most of us are well acquainted with fireworks. Possibly, the most common offences in this area relate to the use of fireworks.
For example, it is an offence to set off a firework between 2300hrs and 0700hrs at night throughout the year, other than on New Year’s, Chinese New Year, Diwali and Bonfire Night. For most first-time offenders who have unwittingly committed this offence it is likely that they will receive a £90 on-the-spot fine, but the offence carries up to a maximum of 6 months in prison, a £5000 fine or both.
What amounts to an ‘explosive’ and an ‘explosive substance’ is far from clear cut. In fact, the definition of these terms varies throughout the different pieces of legislation, meaning that what amounts to an explosive/explosive substance will largely depend on precisely which offence it is alleged you have committed.
Due to the complexities of legislation surrounding explosives, expert witnesses are often required to decide whether the substance used is classified as an explosive. If it is classified as an explosive/explosive substance, the expert will go on to determine which type.
Where it is alleged that a person has committed an offence relating to an explosive/explosive substance it is for the prosecution to prove to the criminal standard that the article in question was an explosive or that an explosion has taken place.
If you’ll excuse the pun, explosives law is a veritable minefield and so it is very important that you consult a specialist solicitor from the outset.
The Law Covering Firearms and Explosives
Offences Against the Person Act 1861
In the Offences Against the Person Act (1861) there are three sections which specifically cover explosions and explosive substances. We outline the three sections below along with their maximum sentencing.
If it is the opinion of the court that the offender is a significant risk to members of the public, the court can trigger an extended sentence. Consequently, this extends the maximum sentence outlined below.
The specific wording of the act states that where an offender poses “a significant risk to members of the public [for] serious harm occasioned by the commission by him of further specified offences”.
Section 28 of the Offences Against the Person Act (1861)
makes it an offence to cause grievous bodily arm to a person by the use of explosive substances or gun powder.
Section 29 of the Offences Against the Person Act (1861)
makes it an offence to cause an explosion with the intent to cause grievous bodily arm.
Offences covered by Section 28 and 29 are seen as serious offences, and carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Section 30 of the Offences Against the Person Act (1861)
covers where explosives are placed near to buildings or ships with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. This offence holds the maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment.
Explosives Act 1875
The Explosives Act 1875 amends the law to cover the manufacture, keeping, selling, carrying and importing explosive substances. These include gunpowder, nitro-glycerine and other explosive substances. It is an offence under the Explosives Act 1875 to:
- Sell gunpowder or explosive substances on the highway or in a public place.
- To sell gunpowder or explosive substances to children under the age of 16 years old.
- Failure to take reasonable precautions to prevent access to explosives.
- To throw fireworks on the highway, street, thoroughfare, road or in a public place.
Those guilty of an offence outlined by this act are liable for a maximum penalty of a fine.
Explosive Substances Act 1883
The Explosives Act 1883 makes it an offence to attempt or cause an explosion that is likely to endanger life or property. It also prohibits the possession of explosives with the intent of the same, i.e. endanger life or property. Offences carry the maximum sentence of life imprisonment, however it is deemed a violent offence which is capable of triggering an extended sentence in the same way as the Offences Against the Person Act (1861).
This act differs from the Offences Against the Person Act in its inclusion of property. The prosecution does not need to prove that the person was reckless or intended to endanger life or property. The evidence must prove that the explosion was likely to endanger life or cause damage to property.
Section 3 of the Explosives Act (1883)
makes it an offence to act with an intent, or conspiring, to cause an explosion likely to endanger life. It also covers the making, possession or control of an explosive substance with intent to the same (i.e. to cause an explosion likely to endanger life).
Section 4 of the Explosives Act (1883)
makes it an offence to possess or make explosives in suspicious circumstances. Offences against section 4 carry a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment.
Criminal Damage Act 1971
The Criminal Damage Act (1971) covers offences where property belonging to another person is damaged or destroyed without reasonable excuse.
A charge against this offence could be imposed if the explosion was minor, and no intent to injure or cause serious damage to property (i.e. offences covered by Explosive Substances Act 1883) can be proven.
Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 creates offences caused by a breach of health and safety regulations, and has four criteria:
- Employer’s responsibilities
- Employee’s responsibilities
- Enforcement of health and safety legislation
- Enforcement action.
The act and its subsidiary legislation covers the storage of fireworks in large volumes, intended for the use of firework displays.
It is usually the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) who prosecute offences under the Health and Safety Act, as opposed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
If an individual breaches the Explosives Regulations 2014, which covers the manufacture, storage and acquisition of explosives, they will be committing an offence contrary to section 33 of the Act. These cases are also prosecuted by the HSE.
Generally, the only time the CPS will prosecute these types of offences is in circumstances where there are other, associated criminal matters which fall outside the scope of the Act. Alternatively, the HSE and CPS could bring a joint prosecution; this usually takes place where it is alleged that a death has occurred in a workplace. The Work Related Deaths Protocol (WRDP) sets out how such joint prosecutions should take place.
Fireworks Act 2003
The Fireworks Act 2003 makes provisions about fireworks and other explosives. The act covers the supply of fireworks by:
- The selling of fireworks.
- The exchange of fireworks for ‘any consideration other than money’.
- Providing fireworks as a prize or otherwise making a gift of them in some way.
The act prohibits the supply in certain circumstances, and for certain types of firework. It also prohibits the supply of fireworks to young persons (under the age of 18).
It is an offence under this act to:
- Use certain fireworks at night other than during permitted fireworks displays (see above).
- Be in possession of a firework in a public place by persons under the age of 18.
As you can see, the law surrounding firearms and explosives is complex. It is best to contact a solicitor for legal advice for these areas due to the severe nature of issues in this area. For tailored advice on your situation, contact us today through our contact page here. Alternatively you can call us on 0333 240 7373 or send us an email at email@example.com.