back to article UK Home Office: We will register thousands of deactivated firearms with no database

The UK Home Office insists that a new law forcing it to create a new registration system for potentially millions of deactivated firearms and their owners will need neither a new database nor more public spending. Passed quietly into law last week by Parliament, the Firearms Regulations 2019 will make it a criminal offence to …

  1. Winkypop Silver badge
    Joke

    Sounds like a job for...

    ...an MS Access database on a network drive!

    1. Forum McForumface

      Re: Sounds like a job for...

      Why waste that valuable network storage? You could put it on a thumb drive, and just pass it around the office as needed. Making copies for backup would be easy too.

    2. Crisp Silver badge

      Re: Sounds like a job for...

      Thumb drives are small and easily lost.

      You'd be better off with a word document on a floppy disk. When the disk gets full it can easily be stapled to a document for proper filing.

      1. steviebuk Silver badge

        Re: Sounds like a job for...

        And no one has floppy drives anymore so it will be super secure.

        1. katrinab Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Sounds like a job for...

          I've got a very large collection of floppy drives in my box of computer bits.

          1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

            Re: Sounds like a job for...

            What are you waiting? Put them to good use.

    3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Sounds like a job for...

      ...an MS Access database on a network drive!

      Nah, Excel.. that's a database! According to far too many users & manglers..

      1. sbt Silver badge
        Boffin

        They could start a joint venture with the drone registry

        I think those folks were building on Excel as well.

        1. Dolvaran

          Re: They could start a joint venture with the drone registry

          At an alleged cost of £3M. Quite some spreadsheet!

        2. MrReynolds2U

          Re: They could start a joint venture with the drone registry

          I was once an administrative contractor for ComputaCentre who managed BT's IT desktop infrastructure.

          I was working in a Service Delivery Office when we were advised some HQ people were rewriting our scheduling system in Excel. At the time this meant single-user write access which was limiting given that we worked in teams of two. I pointed this out to both my manager and the visiting HQ lot but was told "yes it's something we're hoping to get around."

          They got around the Excel issue by reducing the teams to one getting rid of the contractors... which was obviously always the plan. I was let go as part of a cost-cutting exercise shortly afterwards. Decent wage, nice people but massive lack of IT knowledge for a supposed IT company.

    4. katrinab Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Sounds like a job for...

      I'm thinking they just plan to leave the emails on the email server and use that as their filing system.

      You send an email. You get some sort of autoresponder acknowledging receipt. They take no further action.

      1. teknopaul Silver badge

        Re: Sounds like a job for...

        Email seems perfect to me. No need for any special db. Most email servers have a backend capable of handling huge amounts of unread (or perhaps I briefly scanned the subject line) email.

        Html form to email. Great job for an intern.

        1. David Lewis 2
          Coat

          Re: Sounds like a job for...

          And if they use Gmail ... It's in the Cloud, no infrastructure required!

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Sounds like a job for...

        Not on the server. Download them, delete them and keep them in the deleted bin. SOP.

      3. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Sounds like a job for...

        >I'm thinking they just plan to leave the emails on the email server and use that as their filing system.

        Well if the email server is Exchange...

        Suspect some bright spark may have thought about a NoSQL and unstructured data solution.

        1. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: Sounds like a job for...

          This is clearly a sensible attempt to avoid wasting our money on an EU regulation that isn't needed here.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sounds like a job for...

      Amatuer. Sharepoint list ;P

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Sounds like a job for...

        Please don't swear like that. I can put up with terms like frigging felching bollock-fucked motherfister, but not that.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sounds like a job for...

      And skip the prototyping in Excel?

      Sounds risky...

    7. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Sounds like a job for...

      Emails? Access? Excel? Floppies?

      No, simply print the list out and hand it over the security service for safekeeping. You can guarantee that it will be left on a train and end up in the Daily Mail's offices: that way it eventually becomes safe,

    8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Sounds like a job for...

      Overkill. It'll be a spreadsheet. Or possibly several so everyone in the office has their own.

    9. Blackjack

      Re: Sounds like a job for...

      Or just hire all those old people that used typewriters and paper databases in archiving file cabinets, they cannot all be dead yet, right?

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

    Right, so people are automatically going to volunteer the information that they had a deactivated firearm. Sure. That will in no way bring attention to them, there will be absolutely no investigation launched into people who "notify" several weapon transfers, and nothing bad will ever come to the people involved.

    Come on, you don't require registration of such weapons, why do you suddenly need notification of change of ownership ? That is equivalent to saying that someone else now has it, which is the same as a registration in that person's name.

    Might as well impose ID cards.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

      Probably because 'deactivated' is potentially reversible.

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

        Probably because 'deactivated' is potentially reversible.

        If you read TFA it does say that if a firearm is deactivated to meet UK requirements it involves welding solid the barrel and chamber, and cutting away sections of the action, so reactivation is unlikely or improbable.

        1. teknopaul Silver badge

          Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

          I guess the point is to be able to knick people trading firearms in such a way that, "oh I thought they were deactivated" is not a defense.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

          while I agree with the sentiment, the fact is, it is possible to re-activate at least some of those guns. One way to do it (and it's probably done) is dismantling such a piece and shipping it abroad, where different rules apply, and parts which have been welded / made dysfunctional, can be removed and replaced with functional ones. This is probably easier for guns bought several years ago, when rules of how to disable them were less stringent.

          p.s. and I happen to be a somewhat interested party, because I have such a device, which is, legally, not even mine (I bought it for a collector friend long time ago, and he paid for it at that time). But, as he happens to live abroad and with other matters at hand, he's not figured out how to take it out of my hands, so to speak, especially now, as the rules changed recently and, apparently, you can't sell or bequest deactivated firearms which were bought more than a couple of years ago, or something.

        3. Imhotep

          Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

          Seeking enlightenment, since I am thoroughly ignorant on the subject.

          If a firearm has been deactivated in that way, why the need to track it?

          I don't see what practical purpose this serves?

          1. Commswonk Silver badge

            Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

            If a firearm has been deactivated in that way, why the need to track it?

            I can think of one reason, but I have no means of knowing if it is the reason.

            It is impossible to know if any given firearm has been deactivated or not without a reasonably close inspection. As a result it would be all too easy for someone to carry out a robbery with a deactivated firearm without the victim knowing that the firearm was incapable of actually firing anything and thus not putting up any sort of resistance because of a perceived increased chance of being shot.

            FWIW anyone caught using a deactivated firearm in such a way is treated as though the firearm was not deactivated so the penalty is likely to be quite or very severe.

            "But officer it isn't a real firearm" simply won't wash; if the victim had reason to believe that a firearm was being pointed at them then the law proceeds on the basis that it was a real one.

            Anyone brandishing a "deact" (or even a realistic plastic toy gun) in public runs a very real risk of being shot if the Police have reason to believe that there is an imminent threat to life, either theirs or anyone else's.

            1. Imhotep

              Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

              Thanks - that is a reason I wouldn't have thought of.

            2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

              "It is impossible to know if any given firearm has been deactivated or not without a reasonably close inspection. As a result it would be all too easy for someone to carry out a robbery with a deactivated firearm without the victim knowing that the firearm was incapable of actually firing anything and thus not putting up any sort of resistance because of a perceived increased chance of being shot."

              By that logic, the same ought to apply to replicas too. Does it? I have no idea. I'd imagine most people in the UK have not seen a real gun up close and could be quite easily fooled if anything resembling a gun was waved in their face in a threatening manner and believe it to be a real gun.

              1. Commswonk Silver badge

                Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

                By that logic, the same ought to apply to replicas too. Does it?

                Yes. You could make a fake firearm from icing sugar if you were so minded and if it is realistic enough for anyone to think that it is genuine when you brandish it in public then you can expect a vigorous response from the police. If you are lucky (or careful) enough to survive the experience then the law will not suddenly say "oops it's only icing sugar; sorry for bothering you".

                One way or another an imitation firearm can cause just as much trouble as a real one.

                1. HelpfulJohn

                  Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

                  It is much the same legal "logic" that has people doing time for buying or attempting to buy icing sugar or salt from policemen who are pretending to be drug-dealers selling heroin or coke.

                  Or others doing time for chatting-up policemen who pretend to be pre-teen girls.

                  If it looks like a duck, it gets arrested for ducking.

                  It's not the reality that matters, sometimes, but the intent.

          2. david 12 Silver badge

            Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

            don't see what practical purpose this serves?

            None. It's an EU requirement linked to an entirely different regulatory environment.

            It has been suggested that one solution to this kind of meaningless requirement is for Britain to leave the EU. I put that suggestion to you for consideration.

      2. rg287 Silver badge

        Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

        "Reversing" a UK-spec deactivation is tantamount to building a new firearm from scratch.

        Which is why organised gangs have stopped doing that and are just making their own firearms from scratch (Gun factory uncovered in Sussex) - which is easier and more reliable than doing "bespoke" reactivations of whatever becomes available on the deact/collectors market, and leaves no paper trail back to the white market. Or just smuggling them in from Eastern Europe (60 guns found in car at Dover).

        Any metalwork teacher worth their salt could churn out sensible quantities of handguns on a small lathe or mill. This isn't magic knowledge. It's not hard once you've sorted out a pattern.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

          >Any metalwork teacher worth their salt could churn out sensible quantities of handguns on a small lathe or mill

          Hence successive governments cracking down on O level metalwork.

          Tough on industry - tough on the causes of industry

        2. Imhotep

          Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

          I was thinking the same thing. My home shop includes a lathe and gun drills used for making wood winds - but using that same equipment to make a firearm wouldn't be a particularly difficult thing to do. People were doing it hundreds of years ago with much more primitive equipment.

          I imagine it would be much easier than going to the trouble of trying to obtain a deactivated firearm and the needed parts, and then undoing the welding, repairs, etc.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

            I have made several fully functional firearms. With modern tools it is actually not particularly difficult. My favorite is a Model 1894 replica in .357 Herrett. It is an excellent shooter, and my favorite short to medium range varminter and saddle carbine. It was actually easier to machine the carbine than it was to forge the 10 gauge flintlock replica of the original forged by my Great Grandfather.

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

          A long time ago now but some guys were pinched for making Sterlings (IIRC) in a workshop in the basement of the David Keir building in Queens, Belfast.

        4. AndyD 8-)₹

          Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

          "Any metalwork teacher worth their salt could churn out sensible quantities of handguns on a small lathe or mill. This isn't magic knowledge. It's not hard once you've sorted out a pattern."

          hmmm.. Google shed80 (not from home obviously)

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Black Helicopters

            Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

            hmmm.. Google shed80 (not from home obviously)

            I must say reading this thread at a time I had stupidly turned JS for google on in a 'private browser' window, I now get "how to cast the perfect gun barrel" coming up in my suggestions. I do often watch engineering videos on a tablet shortly before going to sleep and that sometimes involves casting, but in the couple of years I've been doing that I've not before had such videos suggested (nor any for other weapons parts).

            Was very tempted but given the current NZ climate of excess fear, decided not to bother (leastways not till I can be bothered firing up a torrified lappy from somewhere NOT too nearby... :) )

      3. Mephistro Silver badge

        Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms" (@ John Robson)

        "Probably because 'deactivated' is potentially reversible."

        That was my first thought when I read the article, but then I remembered those cases of criminal organizations "reactivating" deactivated weapons, something that has been very common in the last few years. One of the groups was based in my region and another in a neighbouring one with several more cases from the rest of the country, and this was just in Spain. I've read a few examples more from different countries in Europe, but I guess most of these news don't make it to the "international.news" newspapers section.

        The trick here is that those illegally reactivated arms also get their serial numbers erased and often their barrels re-threaded, making the weapon de facto unidentifiable.

        So, IMO, this database will be quite useless. Which makes the UK law equally useless, which in turn makes the EU directive useless. Sigh...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

      It's an EU directive, why on Earth would you expect it to be logical, reasoned or even make sense?

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

        It makes sense if you're dealing with firearms which are merely "deactivated", ie barely anything done to prevent them firing, and easily reversed by criminals.

        There's much less need for it in the UK because our deactivation standards are much more stringent. Arguably pushing those stronger standards to the rest of Europe would have made more sense, but I doubt the EU is interested in any bright ideas coming from the UK at the moment.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

          ...and hence the wishy washy following of the EU directive by gov.uk. This is how EU directives work. Each country gets to implement it in it's own way, within reason. Much of the time, the UK "gold plates" the Directives then points at the EU and say "not our fault guv" to the UK population. Usually because those Directives were instigated, amended or just strongly supported by our government.

    3. quxinot Silver badge

      Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

      If it's deactivated, it's no longer a weapon.

      Well, outside of being used as a bludgeon, say.

      WTAF?

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

        Or a terrifying threat, see above.

    4. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

      >Might as well impose ID cards.

      You've got them. They look like a driving license.

      People in the US have the same attitude to ID cards as those in the UK but the country really needs a form of ID so the "RealID" law was passed years ago. This gradually introduced changes to states' driver;s licenses that meant that getting a RealID compliant license requires the same sort of ID and citizenship checks you'd need to get a passport. You can still drive with a non-RealID compliant license but soon you'll be restricted in what you can use it for such as use air travel. (It also marks you as 'somewhat suspect' to law enforcement.)

      UK licenses may have a way to go to get to this state but as the DVLC system is already tied into the passport database it may not be necessary. I can't speak for modern England but years ago one of the signature features of living there is nobody carried any ID ...... but at the same time the police always seemed to know who you were. ("Think About It".)

      Back to the topic. You really, really, do not want the same level of gun ownership in the UK as we have here in the US. Even deactivated guns. As for EU directives, it seems that only the UK slavishly follows Brussels's diktats. Think of them more as 'guidelines'.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

        And leading to the slightly bizarre requirement to get driving licenses to prove you are legally blind (at least in Ca)

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

          "And leading to the slightly bizarre requirement to get driving licenses to prove you are legally blind (at least in Ca)"

          Nonsense. For persons who do not qualify for a driver’s license for any reason, including lack of vision, the Department of Motor Vehicles issues the California Identification Card. This is a picture identification card that looks very much like a driver’s license but is used for identification purposes only.

    5. Adrian Midgley 1

      Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

      Given, in the article.

      It is a list I think is best kept with a a block of thermite next to the data storage, just in case it becomes inconvenient to pass it on to a new regime.

    6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: "no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms"

      "Come on, you don't require registration of such weapons, why do you suddenly need notification of change of ownership ? That is equivalent to saying that someone else now has it, which is the same as a registration in that person's name."

      Probably because it was easier and cheaper to require a change of ownership notification in those countries with proper decommissioning regulations than introducing and enforcing proper decommissioning regulations in those countries which don't yet have them.

      Funny how when a change of rule afftects profits, it'schanged in a way to increase profits, but when the change affects the "little" people, it's changed in a way that passes on the onerous duties to we "little" people. eg copyright was "harmonised" across the EU by increasing up to the German level for the whole of the EU, putting stuff back into copyright in many countries for a further 10-20 years.

  3. Scott Pedigo
    Trollface

    Waiting for the inevitable...

    lawsuit from Oracle, because they didn't get to bid on a contract for it.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've got a very nice cap-pistol, looks like a Webley .38, proper gunmetal colour and everything.

    Maybe I should register it?

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      As youngsters we played outside with an array of very real looking near life size toy weapons that these days would result in SO19 arriving.

      Airsoft has toys you dare not show in public (plod would have no way of telling from across the street)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiDlIe0VzJU (from 2:24 is a minigun)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I had a great collection of toy guns as a kid. They are now classified as "Realistic Imitation Firearms". Still legal to own, but illegal to sell or import. And you can be arrested and charged with firearms offences if you have one outside of your own property boundaries.

        Bizarrely, it's easier to get hold of a deactivated real firearm or even a working air rifle than a toy gun.

        A school friend of mine had an awesome deactivated German WW2 machine gun. I've always wanted one but they are very expensive nowadays.

        1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

          @AC The RIF legislation is utter nonsense. To buy a 'realistic' Airsoft gun that meets the (low) power standard to be acceptable to use in airsoft skirmish, the owner needs to have A UKARA license,... BUT if you buy a 6mm bb gun that is also realistic, but now powerful enough to come under Airgun legislation, the license requirement goes away, you just need to meet the age restrictions. Of course you can buy .177 and .22 etc realistic air guns without a license too (I mentioned 6mm to underline the idiocy of lower power requiring additional paperwork, while the calibre can remain identical.)

          1. Cederic Silver badge

            Although bear in mind that airguns are officially classed in the UK as firearms.

            Of course, far more lethal projectile weaponry is easily available and entirely legal, even if carried in public. I own multiple such weapons, and they're far more fun to shoot.

            1. Wellyboot Silver badge

              Until it's strung a longbow is just a stick, a bit hard to ban.

              I believe it's still law that every englishman should practice for 2 hours a week.

              1. Mephistro Silver badge

                I thought the OP was making a reference to slingshots. A powerful slingshot using bearings or lead balls as ammo can be quite deadly as well.

                1. jake Silver badge

                  For forearm-braced slingshot, see: "Wrist Rocket". These things can get up to around 100ft/lb (135J).

              2. jake Silver badge

                "every englishman should practice for 2 hours a week."

                You mean you don't? Whodathunkit ...

                I practice with my Martin Archery Lithium LTD a couple times per month. No point in owning a tool if you don't know how to use it.

              3. Dolvaran

                Only in certain towns and cities though local bylaws - and even those may have disappeared by now.

              4. Wicked Witch

                That law was removed in the 19th century in general and in the 1960s where there was a specific local requirement, mostly left over from the Marcher Lords.

                There was also a victorian case in which a totally ignored law was ruled as inoperable because literally no one in the court was obeying it (not even the person who brought the prosecution, which was blatantly malicious) and virtually no-one in the country was, and there had been no prosecutions for centuries.

            2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

              @Cederic

              Something I've been looking to get back in to. I recently joined an Archery and Airgun club, and have been getting my shooting skills back up to speed. (and have nearly completed a custom stock for one of my rifles.) and next spring (because I plan to be a fair weather archer) I'll get a new bow. I still have two bows from when I was a teenager, 'Jean Jaques' fibreglass recurves, but I'm a bit wary of stringing them again, in case the 35 year old fibreglass de-laminates on me.

              1. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

                Delaminated bow?

                I had a solid fiberglass spinnaker pole used on a small sailboat delaminate badly. Size, strength, and flexibility are on the order of an English longbow. As the pole was out of manufacture, the local chandleries had no stock, and eBay didn't answer, I was in a bind.

                What I did was rig up a jig to rotate it very slowly and wrap with 550 parachute cord under tension.

                About every foot the cord is locked to itself with epoxy, I think 3M DP220 since it's reasonably flexible. Its worked for several seasons and I'm no longer extracting fiberglass from my hands.

            3. Dolvaran

              Although bear in mind that airguns are officially classed in the UK as firearms.

              Only if they exceed the legal limit of 12 foot pounds for a rifle, or 6 for a pistol.

              1. Is It Me Bronze badge

                Still classed as a firearm below that, just don't need to be licensed in England and Wales (they are licensed in Scotland)

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Airsoft has toys you dare not show in public (plod would have no way of telling from across the street)"

        They also have problems identifying table legs from only 15 feet.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Pint

          They also have problems identifying table legs from only 15 feet.

          You had an extra 't' at the end of your URL. Try this URL instead :)

  5. Blockchain commentard Silver badge
    Coat

    Time to dust off those Lotus Notes installation floppies - a classical example of using a database to run an email system. What could possibly go wrong?

    1. midcapwarrior

      the Deactivated Weapons Association

      the "Deactivated Weapons Association"

      Trying to figure out why such an association would exist and what they do at their meetings.

      1. Mephistro Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: the Deactivated Weapons Association

        The association's name could be an euphemism!

  6. Wellyboot Silver badge
    Joke

    So as this just covers firearms, I'm ok to keep my collection of deactivated Polaris missiles without telling them?

    1. Cederic Silver badge

      As it happens I saw one of those yesterday. Although it did have "inert" painted on the side.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's not to like?

    An inbox is a database.

    Saves giving 100 million to Crapita and GDS.

    High fives all round.

    1. 0laf Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: What's not to like?

      They'll still find a way for this to cost £20 Million and not work.

      1. 's water music Silver badge

        Re: What's not to like?

        They'll still find a way for this to cost £20 Million and not work

        Host the email on Exchange presumably

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What's not to like?

          Wow, I feel for the poor peons that will be totally flooded by all the stuff coming to the mail and postal addresses ! Could need a lot more staff ...

          Magical thinking, here ...

          Alternatively, the UK could just not bother with it at all once it's out of Euro. But will it one day exit ?

    2. Mike Tyler

      Re: What's not to like?

      and probably no worse than giving it to Crapita etc..

  8. The Mole

    Impressed

    I am impressed, it looks like civil servants have come up with the cheapest possible solution whilst still meeting the law.

    It also addresses the concerns about the risk of volunteering information to the authorities, presumably no body is going to actually be reading the emails.

    The only time they will look at the emails is when someone contests against the police adding another charge to whatever else they were planning to get them on.

  9. Chozo
    Facepalm

    Why?

    Given that a Filipino gunsmith working with scrap steel & only basic tools can make a Colt 1911 in two weeks. Armed with a cheap CNC milling machine a complete engineering novice could probably bang one out in half that time. Detailed blueprints are out there and not hard to find for most firearms. Yet the govt is worried about people attempting to reactivate some knock-off victorian flintlock or Granddads welded solid Luger.. go figure...

    1. Laura Kerr

      Re: Why?

      Indeed. It's not difficult to make a gun in a home workshop. I'd guess the main challenge would be finding the right grade of steel for making the chamber, barrel and firing pin. Back in the 1980s, my dad made a working model of an anti-aircraft gun that used a cut-down rifle barrel and which could (and did) fire .22 rounds. The plans were published in the Model Engineer around 1942.

      Weld can be bored through or ground off. I can't help thinking that the safest way to deactivate a firearm would be to so weaken the chamber that it would explode if the gun was fired.

      1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Why?

        It is rather more difficult to make a gun than people imagine, getting it to go bang is one thing, making sure the result of the bang is a bullet leaving the gun at high velocity and not several large pieces of metal imbedding themselves in the firer's body is another, theres no challenge in finding the right material for making it, just look up some of the tougher steels, but you need skills to machine that metal into the right sized bits and then make sure they fit together and work, that takes practice.

        As for 'grinding the weld off the barrel' type reactivations.... once I've done that for you, feel free to fire the gun( once I'm safely away from you and ideally behind concrete walls ), the only way that gun could be reactivated is to put a new barrel on it (see above paragraph for howto make a new barrel)

        anything else is just fantasy cooked up by the media about guns (along with my favourite "Making a plastic airsoft gun into a real firearm by putting a metal barrel into it" )

        Finally, anyone with the skills and knowledge to be a gun smith can make far more money working as a gun smith rather than a dodgey bloke in a shed thinking 10 mins with a black and decker drill can make him a skilled man.

        But you all dream on

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why?

          Don't tell anyone that! You're interfering with natural selection.

        2. dfsmith

          Re: Why?

          According to the (US) Bureau of Justice statistics office, only about 50% of firearms are actually fired when committing a crime*. So a undeactivated weapon may still have nefarious purpose. (Can you reundeativate them again afterwards?)

          * Usual caveats about summarizing surveys with a specific cohort of convicted prisoners.

        3. jake Silver badge

          Re: Why?

          Making a working firearm is not all that difficult with modern tools. It is, however, quite exacting. Especially if you want to keep all your fingers and/or you life. The devil, as they say, is in the details.

        4. GrumpyKiwi

          Re: Why?

          Here's one example of a SMG made at home in the UK.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIhGCRIQnCA

          In Australia there is a LOT more $$$ to be made churning out MAC-11 clones for the various motorcycle gangs than from being a regular gunsmith.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. rg287 Silver badge

        Re: Why?

        Err, no, they are worried about a lot of Eastern block military surplus automatic weapons that were deactivated to older standards and ARE turning up reactivated. Yes anyone who can work a CNC machine can probably make a gun - but starting with half the work done for you makes it so much easier. This is not paranoia, it is in reaction to a Europe wide problem. Perhaps if the Police and Home Office publicised the issue a little better instead of keeping schtum about a possilble route to illegal 'Section 5' firearms acquisition the 'shooting community' would STFU.

        If you or your kids live in a metropolitan city then there is the vanishing small, but still real, risk of being caught it a 'drive by' because your local drugs gang think its cool to own reactivated Skorpions. Unfortunately it is probalby extremely difficult to frame a law that makes an overly subtle differentiotion between e.g. Boer war and cold war era weapons.

        Yet criminals also find it worth their time manufacturing their own, because the supplies of "weakly deactivated" firearms in the UK have dried up, no legitimate UK dealer or auction house will touch anything that doesn't bear a certificate of deactivation from the London or Birmingham Proof Houses and Border Force will take a dim view on people trying to import such.

        It is very sensible to make it inconvenient for criminals to acquire firearms. But once you have reached that point (and we are well past it), it can only be addressed through enforcement.

        Even a total ban on private ownership of firearms would not prevent criminals smuggling or manufacturing their own - lathes aren't licensed.

        Additionally, whilst there is some concern about "automatics", firearms crime committed with automatic weapons is more or less zero. 50% of all firearms crime is committed with pistols (that ban in 1997 worked then), and a chunk of the rest is with "imitation firearms" and then perennial favourite - the sawn-off shotgun. There are a few notable cases - Ellis/Shakespeare being gunned down with a MAC-10 in 2003, but in most cases it seems the (non-)availability of ammunition to feed a full-auto along with their relative rarity makes them at most a status symbol rather than a practical weapon.

        1. mildy bemused

          Re: Why?

          Not sure what you mean by non-availability of ammunition. Most small fully automatic weapons - MAC-10, Uzi, MP4, MP7A1 - fire 9mm which is the world's most popular handgun cartridge.

          So the only situation where there might be a shortage of ammunition is if you didn't bring enough with you.

          BTW, I knew someone that converted an automatic shotgun (like a pump action but without the exercise) to full auto.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Why?

            Not sure what you mean by non-availability of ammunition. Most small fully automatic weapons - MAC-10, Uzi, MP4, MP7A1 - fire 9mm which is the world's most popular handgun cartridge.

            So the only situation where there might be a shortage of ammunition is if you didn't bring enough with you.

            No genuine firearm dealer in the UK will sell a member of the public ammunition unless they present a valid Firearm Certificate showing permission to possess ammunition of that caliber as the law requires the sale be recorded on the certificate. I don't know any legal gun owner who would sell some of their ammunition to some criminal type "off the books" as they are responsible people and the penalties are just too severe. I know I wouldn't. If someone approached an owner or dealer and tried to buy ammunition off the books then it is highly likely the person approached would call the Police for their own protection.

            This pretty much leaves smuggled ammunition and Customs do a good enough job of keeping that out that it isn't freely available on street corners.

            9mm is a rare caliber for a private gun owner to have on their certificate as the number of guns in that caliber that can be owned by the public in the UK is quite small. .38 Special and .357 Magnum are the two most common pistol-based calibers for legal weapons in our club.

            1. Leedos

              Re: Why?

              It's very interesting to read these comments as a US citizen. 9mm ammo is very common over here. Most Walmart stores have it on the shelf right now. My Ruger P94 9mm holds 10 rounds with the factory magazines. I bought two additional 15 round magazines and a box of Winchester Ranger "law enforcement only" rounds for it at a gun show. With the two factory magazines and the two 15 rounders, I can load a full box of ammo. The amount of damage that could be caused is somewhat shocking and I understand that not everyone should have one of these. That said, my 9mm is looked at as a weak firearm due to its lack of stopping power. Reading other comments about semi-auto shotguns (legal in the UK) being converted to full auto and you begin to realize that it's very hard to put the genie back in the bottle. A full auto shotgun is something you want to pickup as a room clearer in a video game. The 9mm semi-auto pistol, not so much.

              I guess more rounds and less skillful reloading means my gun is not a friendly gun like a revolver is. This makes zero sense to me. I did see the bad guys in the movies using the newer "military-style" guns and the street cops have to fend them off with there revolvers. I understand that semi-automatic pistols might be a bit scarier to look at for some, but in my eyes all guns are made to kill. Some kill animals, some people, a small number "kill" targets and decoys. Setting up a registration for deactivated firearms is not a good use of resources. Take the cash for the program and setup a no questions asked buyback to take the working, unregistered firearms out of the community. Isn't that what you really want to accomplish? Do you really need to worry about the older, deactivated guns? Sorry if I'm trying to be too pragmatic.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Why?

                The Police in the UK do periodically hold firearms amnesties where anyone in possession of an unlicensed gun can take it in to a Police Station and hand it over without being arrested or asked for their names. I don't think there's ever been a buy-back but I think it sounds like a good idea.

                Normally, the penalty for illegal possession of a firearm is very severe, 5 years for most crimes or 10 if the judge believes the reason for possession was related to national security or a possible act of terrorism. This seems to be enough to make carrying a gun unattractive to most low level criminals. Being an island helps too. It lowers the number of routes people could use to import illegal guns and makes being caught more likely.

                1. rg287 Silver badge

                  Re: Why?

                  I don't think there's ever been a buy-back but I think it sounds like a good idea.

                  Strictly speaking yes there have, but only in respect of licensed firearms when the Government has banned something (1997/1988/2019) because civil forfeiture is not a thing in the UK.

                  The view on collecting illegal firearms is that you should be glad to be getting rid of a liability in an amnesty rather than collecting a 5-year custodial sentence.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: Why?

          "starting with half the work done for you makes it so much easier"

          Not really. It's easier to make it from scratch than it is to copy and past parts onto an existing, badly damaged bit of kit that needs to be welded/milled/drilled/tapped/etc. in order to be put back into working condition.

        3. jake Silver badge

          Re: Why?

          "whilst there is some concern about "automatics", firearms crime committed with automatic weapons"

          In this case "automatic" means "autoloading", not "machine gun". In other words, you pull the trigger, it fires one round and loads another, then you pull the trigger again. A machine gun is more properly called "fully automatic" and will continue firing as long as you hold the trigger down ... until you run out of ammo, of course.

          1. rg287 Silver badge

            Re: Why?

            No jake, the poster was referring to Skorpions and other Eastern European military surplus automatics like the M-70/AKMs used in the Bataclan Shooting.

            Not the more common semi-automatics (which can be bought legally all over Europe subject to having the relevant license - the UK is the only bit of Europe where you can't own pistols or centre-fire semi-autos). The only reason "Eastern Europe" is mentioned specifically is when we're talking about military stock that went missing after the Iron Curtain came down.

  10. IT Hack
    Coat

    GDPR

    Interesting to see how they will meet GDPR requirements.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A law no one will know about

    Unless you go searching for it. So you'll potentially be in breach because it was "quietly" passed.

    I'm confused where I stand with my blank firing pistols now. I got one before the stupid UKARA came in and then discovered you don't need the UKARA if they are at least 56% a bright colour, which is fine. But nothing stopping me respraying them if I wanted to just display them. But would that respraying been deemed illegal even if there were to never to leave the house?

    I have 2 Glocks and 1 Beretta. I don't have any blank ammo and they meet the UK standards so can't be converted to fire live ammo. They aren't even the correct metal apparently for live ammo, so even if you tried they'd blow up in your hand.

    The partner doesn't know I still have them, she hates them and doesn't want them in the house (they aren't fucking real). Can't sell them easily so was even thinking of taking them to the location station and they can get rid. However, recently having seen the documentary where Ross Kemp went round with a local guy that was collecting knifes off the local yuff, to hand into the police, it seems even that is pointless.

    They went to one police station and it was closed, went to the other and the bin box was taped up. Went to the desk and the guy, who was a civi said he couldn't take them and needed an officer of which there were none. "Take them to another station" which was miles away. Eventually, because Ross was there, they convinced him to take them under the idea it's fucking better the police take them now, than he drive round in his van all night with them looking for a fucking station that will take them!

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: A law no one will know about

      @AC

      "The partner doesn't know I still have them, she hates them and doesn't want them in the house (they aren't fucking real)"

      I understand your pain. When people find out I have air rifles in the UK the first assumption always seems to be maniacal gunning down of civilians. Its a shame people have been reduced to this level of irrational fear. My parents were dead set against the airguns for years until eventually my dad accepted my invitation to join me at the range. Now both my parents have tried it and enjoyed it.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: A law no one will know about

        "Its a shame people have been reduced to this level of irrational fear."

        Brainwashing is an ugly thing, regardless of who is doing it, or why.

  12. codejunky Silver badge

    Ha

    Kudo's to the gov for showing this EU directive the correct appreciation and respect. Bugger all and nothing. I expect the emails will be automatically redirected to /dev/null where they belong

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Joke

      Just call Boris

      "He added: "If somebody asks you to do that tell them to ring up the prime minister and I will direct them to throw that form in the bin."

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-50352678

      If that's what he thinks of EU/GB customs requirements... I'm sure Boris will be good to his word

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Just call Boris

        @Fruit and Nutcase

        I really hope you dont take offence but I would call boris by your handle. He is well and truly a fruit and nutcase. I dunno if he is lying or truly has no clue but either way his deal is effectively Mays and needs to be charitably shown the same consideration as the papers going in the bin.

  13. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Of course one can't store details of deactivated weaponry in an email system...

    ...if it uses POP.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Of course one can't store details of deactivated weaponry in an email system...

      That's the way it goes.

  14. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    It's the Home Office. They have the hashtags.

  15. Hubert Thrunge Jr.
    Coat

    A solution

    Set up a Yahoo! Group for it....

    Oh wait....

  16. Mike 137 Bronze badge

    Really no requirement to register?

    'BASC's Matthew Perring added: "There is no requirement of 'registration' for deactivated firearms, only 'notification'."'

    That's a purely semantic point that can't be relied on to escape prosecution.

    The Firearms Regulations 2019

    Notification of deactivated firearms

    3.—(1) Subject to paragraph (2), a person commits an offence if—

    (a) the person is in possession of a deactivated firearm;

    (b) the person does not give notice of the deactivated firearm to the appropriate nationalauthority in accordance with paragraph (3), and

    (c) where the deactivated firearm has been transferred to the person, the person whotransferred it has not given notice of the transfer in accordance with regulation 2(notification of transfers of deactivated firearms).

    Fortunately, Regulation 3 has been provided with a transitional provision applicable in the case of extent ownership:

    4.Regulation 3 (notification of deactivated firearms) does not have effect until 14th March 2021 in respect of deactivated firearms which came into the person’s possession before 14th September2018.

  17. W T Riker

    True story (I was thereat the time)

    Frenchman walks into a gun dealer.

    I would like to buy a rifle.

    Do you have a Firearms License the gun dealer asks.

    Yes I have a French License.

    Then you cannot buy a rifle as you need a British License. You can however buy an air rifle.

    Ok I'll have one of those.

    The Dealer casually ask what he intends to use it for.

    I want to shoot the pigeons that sit on our roof... I can get a good shot from the street.

    The Dealer looked at him and said you will probably need a bullet proof vest then.

    The Frenchman asked why - do British pigeons carry guns?

    No replied the Gun Dealer, but Police firearms officers do!

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