Debate Magazine

UK Law on Blank Pistols

Posted on the 30 September 2011 by Mikeb302000
It's not a good idea to do legal research from Newspapers or the internet, unless you have some basic knowledge of legal research.
Section 19 of the Firearms Act 1968 makes it an offense for someone to have with them a loaded shotgun, a loaded air weapon, or any other firearm (whether loaded or not) together with ammunition suitable for use in that firearm in a public place without lawful authority or reasonable excuse (the proof whereof lies on the person).
A person commits an offense if, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse (the proof whereof lies on him) he has with him in a public place:
[F45](a)a loaded shot gun,
(b)an air weapon (whether loaded or not),
(c)any other firearm (whether loaded or not) together with ammunition suitable for use in that firearm, or
(d)an imitation firearm.]
Annotations: Help about Annotation
Amendments (Textual)
F45S. 19(a)-(d) substituted for words (20.1.2004) by Anti-social Behaviour Act (2003 c. 38), ss. {37(1)}, 93; S.I. 2003/3300, art. 2(c)(i)

While the Firearms Act does not provide a statutory definition of what is meant by “lawful authority” or “reasonable excuse”, “lawful authority” would not necessarily apply to sportsmen as this seems to relate to those issued with firearms in connection with official duties such as police or military personnel. “Reasonable excuse” would apply to sportsmen if the person were engaging in an activity connected with the firearm’s use and having permission to be on premises where it is to be used.
Blank firing handguns and starting pistols are classed as imitation firearms. The Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 amends Section 19 of the 1968 Firearms Act to include such imitation firearms. In essence it is an offense to possess an imitation firearm in a public place (including buildings accessible by the public) without a reasonable excuse.
Use in theatrical production is considered a reasonable excuse.
Additionally, possession in one's own home is allowed.
The blank pistol mentioned as being banned is only one kind, the Olympic .380, which I do not own. That is the only blank firing pistol which has been "banned": the Olympic .380. Otherwise, these are perfectly legal if kept in the home.
I should note that it is common knowledge amongst those familiar with blank pistols and replica firearms that they are not meant to fire live ammunition. The converted Olympic .380s are known to be inaccurate and prone to exploding on the firer.

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