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Explanatory Memorandum to Firearms (Northern Ireland) Order 2004

Main Elements of the Order

Much of the 1981 Order was re-enacted, some with amendment.  The Order also includes a number of new provisions which will improve public safety and lead to a simpler regulatory regime for the police and shooting enthusiasts. In particular the Order provides the following major changes:

  • The replacement of the system of firearm certificate renewals with one of ongoing grants.

  • a period of supervised shooting for first time certificate holders and those existing certificate holders seeking to acquire a firearm of a significantly different design or type from one already held;

  • an extended firearm certificate from 3 years to 5 years.

  • de-certification of low powered air guns (of 1 joule muzzle energy or less) and deactivated firearms;

  • provision for the borrowing of shotguns and estate rifles;

  • provision for paintball;

  • provision for firearms dealers, rather than the Chief Constable, to amend firearm certificates for those persons wishing to substitute one shotgun for another;

  • provision for museum firearms licence;

  • provision for an increased role for civilian support staff in firearms licensing.

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