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Any firearm deactivated before the new specifications – announced in March 2018 and implemented in the UK in June – will be classed as a ‘defectively deactivated’ firearm and cannot be sold, purchased or gifted.

Firearms that do meet the 2018 specification and offered for sale must be accompanied by a deactivation certificate.

All auction houses or vendors must obtain these certificates issued by an EU Proof House and marked with an EU stamp.

Previously issued UK certificates are no longer sufficient.

Breaking the law

However, a police offer has warned that auction houses are not aware of the recent law changes and have been offering firearms that are defectively deactivated, breaking the law.

Simon Fenner, NABIS officer at Sussex Police, told ATG: “It has become apparent that many auction room owners are not aware of the new EU deactivation requirements for firearms that came into force in June 2018.”

He is now trying to raise awareness to prevent businesses inadvertently breaking the law.

Fenner explained that firearms are “locked to the current owner” and if that owner dies, any deactivated firearms in the estate will “have to be subjected to the new deactivation specification processes in order to be inherited, or be surrendered to the police by the estate”.

Updated details

Details of the law can be found under the Policing and Crime Act 2017 online at legislation.gov.uk

Fenner added that owners of “old-spec” deactivated weapons can sell or gift them to anyone outside the EU, and also sell or gift them to museums that have a relevant firearms licence.