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Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006

Section 38: Meaning of “realistic imitation firearm”

241.This section explains what is meant by the term “realistic imitation firearm”.  The definition of “imitation firearm” for the purposes of this section is that used in the Firearms Act 1968, namely any thing which has the appearance of being a firearm whether or not it is capable of discharging any shot, bullet or other missile.  Subsection (1) defines “realistic imitation firearm” as an imitation firearm which has an appearance that is so realistic as to make it indistinguishable, for all practical purposes, from a real firearm. It does not include a de-activated firearm or an antique imitation firearm. The effect of this exception for de-activated firearms is that it will still be possible to de-activate a firearm without committing the offence in section 36(1)(a) of manufacturing a realistic imitation firearm.

242.Subsection (2) provides that an imitation firearm is not to be regarded as distinguishable from a real one if it could only be distinguished by an expert, on close examination or as a result of an attempt to load or fire it. Subsection (3) provides that in determining whether an imitation is distinguishable from a real one, its size, shape and principal colour must be taken into account. An imitation is to be regarded as distinguishable if its size, shape or principal colour is unrealistic for a real firearm. In this connection, subsections (4), (5) and (6) provide a power for the Secretary of State to make regulations (subject to the negative resolution procedure) specifying dimensions and colours which would be regarded as unrealistic.

243.Subsection (7) defines “deactivated firearm” as being an imitation firearm that was a firearm but has been rendered incapable of firing. A “real firearm” is defined as a firearm of an actual make or model of modern firearm, or a firearm of a description that makes it look like it belongs to a category of firearms.

244.Subsection (8) defines “modern firearm” as any firearm other than one the appearance of which would tend to identify it as having a design and mechanism dating before 1870. Subsection (9) provides that the colour of an imitation or real firearm includes whether it is made of transparent material.

245.Subsection (10) has the effect that a firearm which has been marked and certified as deactivated in accordance with the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 will be presumed to be a deactivated firearm for the purposes of this section.

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