Q319: What are deactivated weapons?

A deactivated weapon is a firearm that has been rendered incapable of discharging any shot, bullet or other missile and has consequently ceased to be a firearm if:

  • the weapon bears a mark which has been approved by the Secretary of State for denoting the fact that it has been deactivated; AND
  • that company or person certifies in writing that work has been carried out on the firearm in a manner approved by the Secretary of State for rendering it incapable of discharging any shot, bullet or missile.

The marks referred to above are:

  • Crossed swords with DA and the year round them for the Birmingham Proof House; and
  • DA over a sword and the year for the London Proof House (there are only these two proof houses.).

Every deactivated weapon must also have with it a certificate stating that deactivation work has been carried out on it.

Deactivation differs from conversion in that a converted weapon may still fire but a deactivated one may not.

If a weapon is defectively deactivated, it is an offence to make it available for sale or as a gift to another person, or to sell or give it (as a gift) to another person. A weapon is a defectively deactivated weapon if:

  • it was at any time a firearm,
  • it has been rendered incapable of discharging any shot, bullet or other missile, but
  • it has not been rendered so incapable in a way that meets the technical specifications for the deactivation of the weapon that apply at the time when the weapon is made available for sale or as a gift or (as the case may be) when it is sold or given as a gift.

This offence does not apply if the weapon is sold or given as a gift by a museum, to another museum, both of which have a museum firearms licence.

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