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Scotland Act 1998

Section B4: Firearms
Purpose and Effect

This Section reserves firearms.


The reserved matter covers regulation of the manufacture, possession, handling, purchase or acquisition, sale, distribution and transfer of firearms.

Parliamentary Consideration
Details of Provisions

The reservation is expressed by reference to the subject-matter of the Firearms Acts 1968 to 1997.  These Acts are the Firearms Act 1968, the Firearms Act 1982, the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988, the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1992 and the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997.  These Acts, inter alia:

  • make it criminal in certain circumstances and without authority to possess handle, purchase, acquire, sell, distribute or transfer certain firearms and imitation firearms;

  • provide for the need for, and issue of, firearms certificates in relation to certain firearms and ammunition;

  • make provision for the regulation of firearms dealers; and

  • and provide for the licensing and regulation of pistol clubs.

The Acts distinguish between different types of firearms in certain respects and make different provision for different types.

The reservation also covers subordinate legislation made under the Firearms Acts, in particular the Firearms (Scotland) Rules 1989 (S.I. 1989/889) which prescribe the forms to be used in connection with the grant of certificates under the Firearms Acts and the registration of firearms dealers, and also the form of the register of transactions to be kept by dealers.

Executive Devolution

The following functions have been included in the Scotland Act 1998 (Transfer of Functions to the Scottish Ministers etc.) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/1750).

The Firearms Act 1968 (c.27), sections 5 and 12(2).

The function of the Secretary of State to grant an authority to allow persons to possess prohibited weapons and ammunition, impose conditions under that authority and revoke an authority.

The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 (c.45), sections 15  and 19 and the Schedule (other than paragraph 3(1)(a)).

The functions of the Secretary of State under section 15 in relation to approving certain rifle and pistol clubs.

All the functions conferred on the Secretary of State by the schedule to the Act (granting of Museums Firearms Licences which allow museums to hold firearms and ammunition without a certificate) except the function of determining a lesser amount of the fee for granting or renewing a licence.

The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 (c.5), section 7(3).

The function of making designations for the purposes of section 7(3) of the 1997 Act of a place at which a firearm is to be kept and used by virtue of a condition in a firearms certificate requiring it to be kept and used in such a place.

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