NABIS Takes Part In Law Commission Firearms Event

8th September 2015

NABIS has been taking part in an important debate around firearms issues today (Tues 8 Sept) organised by the Law Commission.

The event was held at the University of Westminster Law School, London, in front of an invited audience of more than 100 people.

Detective Chief Superintendent Jo Chilton, Head of NABIS, took part in the panel session to discuss issues including antique firearms. She was joined by Professor David Ormerod QC (Law Commission), Bill Harriman of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), Derek Stimpson of the Historical Breechloading Smallarms Association and Fiona Ritchie of the Metropolitan Police's Forensic Firearms Unit.

As well as the discussion on antique guns, the programme included presentations and debate around deactivated firearms, readily convertible imitations, lethality, component parts and other issues of codification of firearms.

Det Chief Supt Jo Chilton said: "We were pleased to be invited to take part in the important debates taking place today. NABIS very much supports the review being carried out by the Law Commission to modernise and clarify gun crime laws and make them easier to navigate for police and prosecutors, as well as legitimate gun owners."

Other organisations taking part in the panel sessions included: the Countryside Alliance, British Shooting Sports Council, Hampshire Constabulary, National Crime Agency, Gun Trade Association and the UK Airsoft Retailers Association.

Today's event was organised as part of the on-going public consultation by the Law Commission who are pressing to make firearms laws clearer and simpler to use.

The three month consultation period began in July and the Law Commission expect to publish their final scoping report early next year. The review aims to clarify firearms legislation and has been welcomed by the Crown Prosecution Service, Met Police and NABIS, amongst others.

Here are some of the main points presented by NABIS at today's firearms symposium:

1)Levels of firearms discharges have more than halved in the last decade; offences in 2014/15 were 67% down compared to recorded levels in 2005/06 (Home Office figures Crim Sec 30).

2) More than 5,000 firearms were handed in to police forces during surrender campaigns in 2014. Of those handed in 34% were Section 2 firearms. Police also recovered 17,145 rounds of ammunition.

3) Obsolete calibre firearms have been identified as having been discharged in fatal shootings. There have been 59 antique firearms recoveries in the UK in the last 12 months (in criminal circs, not due to surrenders).

4) Fifty two per cent of antique firearm recoveries from police intervention or criminal circumstances are made in combination with suitable ammunition (antique guns can be owned as an ornament or curiosity under present laws but some criminals are getting around the current laws by buying specially made ammunition to fit the old weapons).

5) Inferred firearms are guns which NABIS knows have been used in crime. In the last 12 months (1 Sept 2014 - 31 Aug 2015) NABIS has identified 190 new firearms in criminal hands; the majority of these (73%) are handguns. Of the 190 firearms, analysis tells us that 27 of the inferred weapons are potentially antique firearms.

For more details of the Law Commission firearms project visit http://www.lawcom.gov.uk/

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