A new national gun surrender will allow people to anonymously surrender guns and ammunition, including heirlooms, antique shotguns and revolvers, as well as illegal stun guns and purchased gas blank guns abroad. According to the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) and the National Ballistic Intelligence Service (Nabis), many of these weapons are held in innocence and in ignorance that their possession is against the law.
Weapons turned over in past surrenders have included old wartime service revolvers, war trophies – including grenades – and blank gas guns and stun guns – bought on trips to Europe or online. As innocent as they are, these weapons can be acquired by crooks through theft or distributed to criminal networks through other means.
The surrender – the first since 2019 – provides the ability to dispose of a firearm, firearm components or ammunition by simply bringing them to a designated local police station and handing them over. firearms, stun guns, gas weapons, imitation firearms, ammunition, hand grenades or other weapons.
The surrender begins on May 12 and lasts two weeks. People should check the locations of police stations in advance by visiting their local force’s website or calling 101.
Deputy Chief Constable Helen McMillan, the NPCC’s criminal use of firearms officer, said: ‘We are urging people from May 12, for two weeks, to contact local police or come to the police station. local police and to turn over any firearm – or any type of weapon – that they have in their possession.
“They can do it anonymously and there will be an amnesty for them to carry that weapon or be in possession of that weapon when they surrender it. “No one has to worry about entering a station or contacting their local force.
“We don’t need to know your name, we don’t need to know how you came into possession of it, all we need is you to give us the gun.”
Nabis ballistics expert Gregg Taylor said thousands of weapons had already been returned, including “old Webley revolvers”, issued as service handguns during World War II, which were typical found objects” lying around in the attic for decades”.
Mr Taylor also urged people to check for any ‘blank’ imitation guns they might have, adding that the ‘gas gun’ type was ‘legal in Europe – but definitely illegal in the UK’. If you don’t know the condition of the weapon or are unsure, take the opportunity to hand it over,” he added.
He also said there were also “many unregistered firearms and (especially) shotguns, predating the (Firearms) Act 1988” in homes, often “hanging above the chimney”, which should be put back if they are not permitted. When last surrendered, shotguns accounted for 69% of all lethal weapons surrendered.
Changes to gun laws last year also closed a loophole allowing people to own old guns – particularly revolvers – legally as antiques because they used ammunition in calibers which were no longer manufactured.
Ms McMillan urged owners of antique guns to ‘know your gun and know the law’, adding ‘if you are no longer in legal possession, return that gun’.
Illegal possession of a firearm can mean five years behind bars and if you are convicted of possession with intent to supply, it can result in a life sentence.