Our legal team are well versed in the complexities of firearms law & explosives laws.
Our legal team are well versed in the complexities of firearms law. Take advice early and contact us today.
The law relating to the ownership, use and licencing of firearms is complex and non-compliance can result in severe sanctions. If you require legal advice relating to any aspect of firearms law please call us on 01442 242999 and we will be happy to provide you with free initial advice over the telephone.
Firearms law – Licencing
Taking advice at an early stage can sometimes avoid your certificate being revoked or not renewed. Even if revocation has taken place we may be able to negotiate with the police to persuade them to reconsider their decision. If this is not possible then there is always the option of an appeal to the crown court.
If you are affected by an adverse decision from your licencing authority you may only have 21 days in which to appeal the decision.
Call us now if you require advice in any of the following areas:
• Shotgun and firearms certificate applications
• Revocations and refusals of certificates
• Appeals against revocation
• Licencing for shooting clubs
Legal aid is not available for licencing matters but we are happy to discuss representation on a fixed fee basis. If you are a member of BASC your membership may include insurance which can sometimes cover your legal fees.
Firearms law – Criminal
Firearms offences can be very serious and often carry heavy custodial sentences. If you are arrested on suspicion of a firearms offence it is important to get expert legal advice as soon as possible. At Wheldon Law we have a niche practice in firearms law and have excellent contacts with a number of firearms experts. We can provide expert advice and representation if you face proceedings for any firearms offences including:
• Illegal possession of firearms
• Possession of imitation firearms
• Illegal conversion of weapons
• Possession of antique and de-activated weapons
• Criminal use of firearms
• Illegal importation of firearms including taser torches
• Poaching/hunting offences
We are firearm lawyers based in Hertfordshire but represent clients in police stations and courts all over England and Wales
Legal aid may be available subject to status. If you are not eligible for legal aid, or if you choose to fund your case privately, we find most clients prefer to do so on a fixed fee basis.
Offences involving explosives could be prosecuted under a number of pieces of legislation. Expert evidence is always required in these cases to ascertain whether the substance is an explosive and if so, what type.
Prosecution must prove that there was an explosion, as opposed to say combustion and expert evidence is also required on this point.
Offences Against the Person Act 1861
Section 28 makes it an offence to cause grievous bodily harm to a person by the unlawful explosion of gun powder or other explosive substance.
This offence can only be heard in the crown court and the maximum sentence is one of life imprisonment.
Section 29 makes it an offence to cause an explosion with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
This offence can also only be heard in the crown court and carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Section 30 makes it an offence to place explosives near to buildings or ships with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
This offence can only be heard in the crown court and carries a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment. Also, all of the above offences are capable of triggering an extended sentence if the court is of the opinion that the offender poses “… a significant risk to members of the public of serious harm occasioned by the commission by him of further specified offences”.
Explosives Act 1875
Under this Act it is an offence to:
• Fail to take all reasonable precautions to prevent access to explosives (Section 23).
• To sell gun powder on the highway or in a public place (Section 30).
• To sell gun powder to children appearing to be under the age of 16 years (Section 31).
• To throw fireworks on the highway or in a public place (Section 80).
Whilst the Act refers to “gun powder” the term includes a number of other explosive substances.
All offences carry a maximum penalty of a fine.
Explosive Substances Act 1883
Section 2 makes it an offence to cause an explosion likely to endanger life or cause serious damage to property. This offence is wider than the one created by the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 as it extends to damage to property and it is also easier to prove as the Crown do not have to prove that the person intended or was reckless, they only have to prove that the act was likely to endanger life or cause serious damage to property.
The case can only be heard in the crown court and the maximum sentence is one of life imprisonment.
Under Section 3 it is an offence to do any act with an intent to cause an explosion by means of an explosive substance likely to endanger life. It is also an offence to conspire to cause an explosion likely to endanger life or to make, possess or control an explosive substance with intent to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.
All of the above offences can only be heard in the crown court and carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. These are also deemed to be violent offences capable of triggering an extended sentence if the offender is deemed to be dangerous.
Under Section 4 of the Act it is an offence to make or possess explosives in suspicious circumstances and carries a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment.
Criminal Damage Act 1971
Under Section 1 of the Act an offence is committed where property belonging to another is damaged or destroyed without reasonable excuse. Although it is unusual for an offence involving explosions to be charged as criminal damage, if the explosion is minor and there was no intent to injure anyone or cause serious damage to property, then an offence of criminal damage could be charged.
Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
Offences under this Act relate to breaches of regulations relating to health and safety and the manufacture, storage and sale of explosives.
Fireworks Act 2003
Regulations made under this Act make it an offence to:
• Be in possession of a firework in a public place by a person under the age of 18 years.
• Use certain fireworks at night other than during a permitted fireworks night display.
Please call us on 01442 242999 for free initial telephone advice.
AH –v- Lincoln Constabulary (2019)
Successful appeal against the revocation of a coterminous firearms license and shotgun certificate. We successfully persuaded the learned Judge sitting at Lincoln Castle that it was more appropriate to attach conditions to the certificate rather than refuse it entirely. He is now happily shooting again with his license restored.
Regina –v- T (2019)
When T came to Wheldon Law he was charged with a firearms offence which carried a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years imprisonment. We examined the evidence and negotiated a guilty plea to a less serious charge. T received a community based penalty and did not go to prison.
Cardiff Constabulary –v- C (2019)
C firearms license was revoked following a disagreement with police. He sought our help in preparing documents and legal arguments to assist his appeal against the decision. The court felt it was appropriate to impose conditions on the license rather than revoke it. The client is now happily shooting again and his guns were returned to him.
Regina –v- R (2019)
Miss R was charged with an offence of possessing a firearm disguised as another object. This offence carried a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years imprisonment. The offence was one of strict liability and the defendant had no defence. We made representations that the case be discontinued on public interest grounds. The Crown Prosecution Service reviewed our submissions and changed their view, discontinuing the charge entirely. The defendant faced no sanction.
Regina –v- M (2018)
This defendant was represented by another firm when sentenced to 8 and half years imprisonment. His original legal team informed him that he had no grounds to appeal sentence. We took the matter to the court of appeal and the sentence was reduced to 7 years imprisonment.
Regina –v- K (2018)
Mr K had knowingly held on to a firearm for many years that he knew he was now allowed to possess. The possession of such a firearm carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years imprisonment. We raised exceptional circumstance arguments following our clients guilty plea. We were able to persuade the Judge that exceptional circumstances applied and the 5 year sentence was set aside in favour of a suspended sentence. The client did not go to prison
Regina –v- NS (2018)
Our client was charged with possession of a stun gun. Following a lengthy plea in mitigation we were able to persuade the sentencing judge that this was a case where the defendant did not need to go to prison.
Regina –v- N (2018)
Our client was found at a festival in possession of a firearm disguised as another object. The offence would carry a minimum sentence of imprisonment of 5 years. We raised arguments of exceptional circumstances and persuaded the Judge that the 5 year sentence did not need to apply. Our client did not go to prison and went on to study at university.
Hereford Police –v- T (2016)
Firearms license successfully restored following appeal against police decision to revoke.
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