Enforcement and Penalties
63. Alongside the new licensing regime the Government will introduce a series of new offences and penalties for those who break the law. In general terms these offences will reflect the issues discussed within this paper and will mirror, as far as possible, the equivalent offences relating to firearms or shotguns. The new offences and provisions are likely to be subject to more detailed consultation at a later date, but are likely to include:
- an offence will be committed if someone is in possession of an air weapon without a certificate and/or fails to comply with the conditions of an air weapon certificate regarding its storage, handling or use; and
- police officers should have the power to require the handing over of an air weapon for examination. A police officer will also be able to demand from any person believed to be in possession of an air weapon, the production of their air weapon certificate.
64. It is expected that these provisions and any others (such as powers of arrest in relation to these offences) will be set out in secondary legislation.
65. As part of the consultation on this area, the Government will also seek views on the levels of penalty to be applied. As a guide, existing maximum penalties for shotgun offences are:
- Summary conviction- 6 months imprisonment /maximum fine
- Conviction on indictment - up to 5 years imprisonment
- Failure to comply with a condition of a certificate - triable only summarily- 6 months imprisonment/level 5 fine
Question 17: Do you consider that penalties should be set at the same level as for shotgun offences?