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Firearms Act 1968

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Firearms Act 1968, Section 57 is up to date with all changes known to be in force on or before 10 December 2018. There are changes that may be brought into force at a future date. Changes that have been made appear in the content and are referenced with annotations. Help about Changes to Legislation

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Changes and effects

This section lists the changes and effects yet to be applied to the whole Act, associated Parts and Chapters where applicable. This includes any insertions of whole new Parts, Chapters or provisions yet to be inserted into this Act. These effects are included in this view as they may be (but won’t necessarily be) relevant to the specific provision that you are viewing.

  • Act amended by 1997 c. 5 s. 12(2) (This amendment not applied to legislation.gov.uk. S. 12 was repealed (17.12.1997) by 1997 c. 64, s. 2(7), Sch.; S.I. 1997/3114, art. 3, Sch. Pt. I)
  • Blanket amendment words substituted by S.I. 2011/1043 art. 3 4

Whole provisions yet to be inserted into this Act (including any effects on those provisions):

57 Interpretation.E+W+S

(1)[F1In this Act, the expression “firearm” means—

(a)a lethal barrelled weapon (see subsection (1B));

(b)a prohibited weapon;

(c)a relevant component part in relation to a lethal barrelled weapon or a prohibited weapon (see subsection (1D));

(d)an accessory to a lethal barrelled weapon or a prohibited weapon where the accessory is designed or adapted to diminish the noise or flash caused by firing the weapon;]

and so much of section 1 of this Act as excludes any description of firearm from the category of firearms to which that section applies shall be construed as also excluding component parts of, and accessories to, firearms of that description.

[F2(1A). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .]

[F3(1B)In subsection (1)(a), “lethal barrelled weapon” means a barrelled weapon of any description from which a shot, bullet or other missile, with kinetic energy of more than one joule at the muzzle of the weapon, can be discharged.

(1C)Subsection (1) is subject to section 57A (exception for airsoft guns).]

[F4(1D)For the purposes of subsection (1)(c), each of the following items is a relevant component part in relation to a lethal barrelled weapon or a prohibited weapon—

(a)a barrel, chamber or cylinder,

(b)a frame, body or receiver,

(c)a breech block, bolt or other mechanism for containing the pressure of discharge at the rear of a chamber,

but only where the item is capable of being used as a part of a lethal barrelled weapon or a prohibited weapon.]

(2)In this Act, the expression “ammunition” means ammunition for any firearm and includes grenades, bombs and other like missiles, whether capable of use with a firearm or not, and also includes prohibited ammunition.

[F5(2A)In this Act “self-loading” and “pump-action” in relation to any weapon mean respectively that it is designed or adapted (otherwise than as mentioned in section 5(1)(a)) so that it is automatically re-loaded or that it is so designed or adapted that it is re–loaded by the manual operation of the fore–end or forestock of the weapon.

(2B)In this Act “revolver”, in relation to a smooth-bore gun, means a gun containing a series of chambers which revolve when the gun is fired.]

(3)For purposes of sections 45, 46, 50, 51(4) and 52 of this Act, the offences under this Act relating specifically to air weapons are those under sections [F622(4), 22(5), 23(1)] [F621A(1A)] [F7, 24(4) and 24ZA(1)] .

(4)In this Act—

  • acquire” means hire, accept as a gift or borrow and “acquisition” shall be construed accordingly;

  • air weapon” has the meaning assigned to it by section 1(3)(b) of this Act;

  • F8[“another member State” means a member State other than the United Kingdom, and “other member States”shall be construed accordingly;]

  • area” means a police area;

  • F9[“Article 7 authority” means a document issued by virtue of section 32A(1)(b) or (2) of this Act;]

  • [F10British Transport Police Force” means the constables appointed under section 53 of the British Transport Commission Act 1949;]

  • certificate” (except in a context relating to the registration of firearms dealers) and “certificate under this Act” mean a firearm certificate or a shot gun certificate and—

    (a)

    firearm certificate” means a certificate granted by a chief officer of police under this Act in respect of any firearm or ammunition to which section 1 of this Act applies and includes a certificate granted in Northern Ireland under section 1 of the M1Firearms Act 1920 or under an enactment of the Parliament of Northern Ireland amending or substituted for that section; and

    (b)

    shot gun certificate” means a certificate granted by a chief officer of police under this Act and authorising a person to possess shot guns;

  • [F11civilian officer” means—

    (a)

    as respects England and Wales—

    (i)

    a person employed by a chief constable established under section 2 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011,

    (ii)

    a person employed by the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, or

    (iii)

    a person employed by the Corporation of the City of London who is under the direction and control of the Commissioner of Police for the City of London;

    (b)

    as respects Scotland, a [F12member of police staff within the meaning of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012] ;]

  • F13[“European firearms pass” means a document to which the holder of a certificate under this Act is entitled by virtue of section 32A(1)(a) of this Act;

  • M2“European weapons directive” means the directive of the Council of the European Communities No.91/477/EEC (directive on the control of the acquisition and possession of weapons);]

    • firearms dealer” means a person who, by way of trade or business,

      (a)

      [F14manufactures, sells, transfers, repairs, tests or proves firearms or ammunition to which section 1 of this Act applies orshot guns; or

      (b)

      [F15sells or transfers] [F15manufactures, sells, transfers, repairs or tests] air weapons.]

    • imitation firearm” means any thing which has the appearance of being a firearm (other than such a weapon as is mentioned in section 5(1)(b) of this Act) whether or not it is capable of discharging any shot, bullet or other missile;

    • [F16member of a police force” means—

      (a)

      as respects England and Wales, a constable who is a member of a police force or a special constable appointed under section 27 of the Police Act 1996;

      (b)

      as respects Scotland, a constable within the meaning of section 99 of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 (2012 asp 8);

    • member of the British Transport Police Force” includes a special constable appointed under section 25 of the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003;]

    • F17. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    • premises” includes any land;

    • prescribed” means prescribed by rules made by the Secretary of State under section 53 of this Act;

    • prohibited weapon” and “prohibited ammunition” have the meanings assigned to them by section 5(2) of this Act;

    • public place” includes any [F18highway][F18road within the meaning of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984)] and any other premises or place to which at the material time the public have or are permitted to have access, whether on payment or otherwise;

    • registered”, in relation to a firearms dealer, means registered either—

      (a)

      in Great Britain, under section 33 of this Act, or

      (b)

      M3in Northern Ireland, under section 8 of the Firearms Act 1920 or any enactment of the Parliament of Northern Ireland amending or substituted for that section,

      and references to “the register”, “registration” and a “certificate of registration” shall be construed accordingly, except in section 40;

    • [F19rifle”includes carbine;]

    • shot gun” has the meaning assigned to it by section 1(3)(a) of this Act and, in sections 3(1) and 45(2) of this Act and in the definition of “firearms dealer”, includes any component part of a shot gun and any accessory to a shot gun designed or adapted to diminish the noise or flash caused by firing the gun;

    • slaughtering instrument” means a firearm which is specially designed or adapted for the instantaneous slaughter of animals or for the instantaneous stunning of animals with a view to slaughtering them; and

    • transfer” includes let on hire, give, lend and part with possession, and “transferee” and “transferor” shall be construed accordingly.

F20[(4A)For the purposes of any reference in this Act to the use of any firearm or ammunition for a purpose not authorised by the European weapons directive, the directive shall be taken to authorise the use of a firearm or ammunition as or with a slaughtering instrument and the use of a firearm and ammunition—

(a)for sporting purposes;

(b)for the shooting of vermin, or, in the course of carrying on activities in connection with the management of any estate, of other wildlife; and

(c)for competition purposes and target shooting outside competitions.]

(5)The definitions in subsections (1) to (3) above apply to the provisions of this Act except where the context otherwise requires.

(6)For purposes of this Act—

(a)the length of the barrel of a firearm shall be measured from the muzzle to the point at which the charge is exploded on firing; and

(b)a shot gun or an air weapon shall be deemed to be loaded if there is ammunition in the chamber or barrel or in any magazine or other device which is in such a position that the ammunition can be fed into the chamber or barrel by the manual or automatic operation of some part of the gun or weapon.

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Amendments (Textual)

F1Words in s. 57(1) substituted (31.1.2017 for specified purposes, 2.5.2017 in so far as not already in force) by Policing and Crime Act 2017 (c. 3), ss. 125(2), 183(1)(5)(e); S.I. 2017/399, reg. 4(b)

F2S. 57(1A) repealed (1.2.1998) by 1997 c. 64, s. 2(7), Sch.; S.I. 1997/3114, art. 4, Sch. Pt. II

F3S. 57(1B)(1C) inserted (31.1.2017 for specified purposes, 2.5.2017 in so far as not already in force) by Policing and Crime Act 2017 (c. 3), ss. 125(3), 183(1)(5)(e); S.I. 2017/399, reg. 4(b)

F4S. 57(1D) inserted (31.1.2017 for specified purposes, 2.5.2017 in so far as not already in force) by Policing and Crime Act 2017 (c. 3), ss. 125(4), 183(1)(5)(e); S.I. 2017/399, reg. 4(b)

F7Words in s. 57(3) substituted (10.2.2011) by Crime and Security Act 2010 (c. 17), ss. 46(3), 59(1); S.I. 2011/144, art. 2

F8Definition in s. 57(4) inserted (1.1.1993) by S.I. 1992/2823, reg. 5(2)(a)

F9Definition in s. 57(4) inserted (1.1.1993) by S.I. 1992/2823, reg. 5(2)(b)

F10Definition of “British Transport Police Force” in s. 57(4) inserted (14.12.2001) by 2001 c. 24, s. 101, Sch. 7 para. 10

F13Definitions in s. 57(4) inserted (1.1.1993) by S.I. 1992/2823, reg. 5(2)(c)

F14S. 57(4): words in definition of "firearms dealer" substituted (6.4.2007 for certain purposes and 1.10.2007 otherwise) by Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 (c. 38), ss. 31(3), 66(2); S.I. 2007/858, art. 2(e); S.I. 2007/2180, art. 4(a)

F16Words in s. 57(4) inserted (31.1.2017 for specified purposes, 15.12.2017 in so far as not already in force) by Policing and Crime Act 2017 (c. 3), ss. 39(3), 183(1)(5)(e); S.I. 2017/1139, reg. 2(e) (as amended by S.I. 2017/1162, reg. 2)

F17Definition of “indictable offence” repealed by Criminal Law Act 1977 (c. 45), Sch. 13

F18Words “road (within the meaning of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984)” substituted (S.) for “highway” by Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 (c. 54, SIF 108), s. 156(1), Sch. 9 para. 62

F20S. 57(4A) inserted (1.1.1993) by S.I. 1992/2823, reg. 3(5)

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

Marginal Citations

M2OJ No. L256, 13.9.91, p.51.

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