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Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006

Section 35: Restriction on sale and purchase of primers

227.This section restricts the purchase and sale of primers to persons who hold a relevant firearms certificate or who otherwise have lawful authority for having them. Primers are components of ammunition which contain a chemical compound that detonates on impact.

228.Subsection (1) applies the section to cap-type primers designed for use in metallic ammunition for a firearm. This will exclude primers for cartridge-type ammunition such as that used for shot guns. Subsections (2) and (3) make it an offence to sell a primer, or an empty cartridge case incorporating a primer, unless the purchaser:

  • is a registered firearms dealer;

  • sells primers by way of trade or business;

  • produces a certificate authorising him to possess a firearm of a kind with which the primers being bought can be used;

  • produces a certificate authorising him to possess ammunition of a kind that can be used with such a firearm;

  • shows he is in the service of Her Majesty and is entitled to acquire a primer;

  • produces a certificate authorising another person to possess ammunition or such a firearm, together with that person’s authority to purchase primers on his behalf;

  • shows he is entitled by an enactment (including one passed after this Act) or otherwise to possess such a firearm or ammunition without a certificate; or

  • falls within a category of person set out in regulations.

229.Subsections (4) and (5) make it an offence for a person to buy, or attempt to buy, primers or empty cartridge cases incorporating primers, unless he meets similar criteria.

230.Subsection (6) provides that a person in the service of Her Majesty is entitled to acquire primers if they are for the public service and he is duly authorised in writing, or if he holds a firearm certificate issued in accordance with section 54(2)(b) of the Firearms Act 1968 (i.e. a certificate issued free of charge to a person in the armed forces who is required to purchase a firearm for official duties).

231.Subsection (7) makes the offence a summary offence with a maximum penalty of 51 weeks imprisonment or a £5,000 fine, or both. Subsection (8) sets the maximum term of imprisonment to 6 months but this will increase to 51 weeks in England and Wales after the commencement of the sentencing provisions in section 281(5) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

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