All persons engaged by way of trade or business in the manufacture, sale or transfer of firearms or ammunition to which section 1 of the 1968 Act (as amended) applies, or shotguns, must be registered as a firearms dealer. This requirement also includes those persons engaged in the repair, test or proving of such firearms or ammunition.
A registered firearms dealer is exempt from requiring a
firearm or shotgun certificate by virtue of section 8 (1) of the 1968 Act, which
covers his purchase, acquisition or possession of firearms and ammunition, in
the ordinary course of the dealer's business anywhere in Great Britain. It
extends to the dealer and his servants.
An application to become a registered firearms dealer must be made to the Chief Officer of Police for the area where the place of business is situated. It must be made on form 116 and the applicant must provide the prescribed particulars. There is a fee payable
A firearms dealer, who is already registered, wishing to open an additional place of business within the same police area must apply on form 116a providing the prescribed particulars.
Where a dealer has a place of business in more than one police area, he must apply for registration to the Chief Officer of Police for each area.
Firearms dealers wishing to carry on business, including
exhibiting for the purpose of his business, at game fairs or exhibitions in
another police area, should apply for registration with the Chief Officer of
Police for that area.
Once issued, a dealers certificate of registration continues in force for a period of three years from the grant of the certificate of registration. Section 33 (5) of the Act, as amended, provides for a registered dealer to surrender his certificate to the Chief Officer of Police, on or before the expiration of this period and to apply for a new certificate using the prescribed form 116.
It should be noted that those dealers wishing to manufacture, sell, transfer, purchase, acquire, or possess prohibited weapons as defined by section 5 of the Act, as amended must apply separately to The Secretary of State at The Home Office.
Under section 33 (1) of the 1968 Act, each Chief Officer of Police is required to keep, in the prescribed form, a register of firearms dealers in his area.
Section 33 (2) requires the Chief Officer of Police to enter in the register the name of any person, (including a body corporate), who has or proposes to have, a place of business in the area, who applies, furnishes the prescribed particulars and pays the prescribed fee, unless -
When registered a dealer shall be granted a certificate of registration, (form117), which lists all the premises in that area from which the dealer operates and any conditions imposed on the principal place of business. Conditions imposed on other premises in the area are listed on form 118 and a separate copy is completed for each set of premises.
Section 36 (1) authorises a Chief Officer of Police to impose, vary or revoke conditions subject to which registration is to have effect. Any such conditions must be specified in the certificate of registration. Where a condition is imposed, varied or revoked during the current life time of a certificate, then the Chief Officer of Police is required to give the dealer such particulars in writing. The Chief Officer of Police is empowered to recall the certificate of registration, within 21 days, for the purpose of amending it.
Where a person deals in a specific or restricted range of weapons at the time of his application, it may be appropriate to include a condition to the effect that any change in the nature of the business should be notified, without delay, to the Chief Officer of Police who issued the certificate. This is to allow any further safekeeping restrictions, if necessary, to be considered.
Registered firearms dealers - Records of transactions
Section 40 (1) requires every person who, by way of trade or business, manufactures, sells or transfers firearms or ammunition to which section 1 of the Act applies, or shotguns, to keep a register of transactions and to enter therein the particulars specified in schedule 4 of the Act.
Section 40 (3) requires that every entry required by subsection (1) of this section to be made in the register, shall be made within 24 hours after the transaction to which it relates took place and, in the case of a sale or transfer, every person to whom that subsection applies shall at the time of the transaction require the purchaser or transferee, if not known to him, to furnish particulars sufficient for identification and shall immediately enter the said particulars in the register.
In transferring firearms and shotguns to certificate holders, firearms dealers are obliged by section 32 (2) (b) of the 1997 Act to comply with any instructions contained in the certificate produced. Those instructions require that notification, and details of the transaction be notified to the Chief Officer of Police who issued the certificate by recorded or special delivery within 7 days..
A firearms dealer is also required to send a notification of a transaction involving a visitor under section 18 (1) of the 1988 Act to the Chief Officer of Police for the area in which he is registered. The notice must be sent within 48 hours of the transaction, either by registered post or the recorded delivery service, and contain all the particulars entered in the register of transactions including the details of the purchaser's passport, if any.
A registered firearms dealer shall, on demand, allow a constable or civilian officer, duly authorised in writing in that behalf by the Chief Officer of Police, to enter and inspect all stock in hand and shall on request by an officer of Police so authorised, or by an officer of Customs and Excise, produce the register for inspection.
Under Section 40 (3a) of the Act, as amended, a registered dealer is required to keep his register of transactions so that entries made therein, (from 1st February 1989 when this requirement came into force), are available for inspection for a period of at least five years.
Section 40 (4a) requires that every person keeping a register in accordance with this section by means of a computer shall secure that the information comprised in the register can readily be produced in a form in which it is visible and legible and can be taken away.
Sections 38 and 45 of the Act, as amended, deal with the
removal of a dealer's name or place of business from the police register. A
dealer's name or any place of business may be removed if he fails to comply with
the conditions of registration.
A dealer's name may either be removed -
Section 38 (1) - "If the Chief Officer of Police, after giving reasonable notice to a person whose name is on the register, is satisfied that the person -
(a) is no longer carrying on business as a firearms dealer; or
(b) has ceased to have a place of business in the area; or
(c) cannot be permitted to continue to carry on business
as a firearms dealer without danger to the public safety or to the peace.
A person aggrieved by the removal of his name from the register of dealers, or by the removal from the register of a place of business of his, may in accordance with section 44 of the Act appeal to the Crown Court against the removal. (Section 38 (7) of the Act refers).
Such an appeal may only be lodged after removal has been effected. Although the certificate of registration and register of transactions may be retained by the dealer pending the appeal hearing, any trade at the relevant premises must cease.
Section 38 (5) - "The Chief Officer of Police shall cause the name of a person to be removed from the register if that person so desires".
The registered person should be required first to dispose of all firearms and ammunition not authorised by a personally held firearm or shotgun certificate.
Section 38 (6) - "If a person for the time being registered fails to comply with any requirements of section 33 (5) of this Act, ( renewal of registration ), the Chief Officer of Police shall by notice in writing require him to comply with that requirement and, if the person fails to do so within twenty-one days from the date of the notice, or within such further time as the Chief Officer of Police may in special circumstances allow, shall cause his name to be removed from the register.
Section 45 (1) (a) - "Where a registered firearms dealer is convicted of an offence relevant for the purposes of this section the court may order that the name of the dealer be removed from the register."
Section 45 (3) - "A person aggrieved by an order made under this section may appeal against the order in the same manner as against the conviction, and the court may, if it thinks fit, suspend the operation of the order pending the appeal."
In any case where a Chief Officer of Police removes the name of a firearms dealer from the register, he must, under section 38 (8) of the Act, by notice in writing require the dealer to surrender his certificate of registration and register of transactions. If the dealer fails to do so within 21 days of that notice, or of the date of the abandonment or dismissal of any appeal, he commits an offence
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