Firearms Act 1968

The Firearms Act 1968 (c 27) is a UK Act of Parliament, controlling use and possession of firearms.

Firearms Act
Royal assent30 May 1968
Commencement1 August 1968
Other legislation
Amended by
  • Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988
  • Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997
  • Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997
Status: Amended
Text of the Firearms Act 1968 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from

Since 1968, the act has been extensively amended. Following the Hungerford massacre, the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 extended the class of prohibited weapons. Following the Dunblane school massacre, two acts were passed, the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 and, after the general election that year, the Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997, which in effect banned almost all handguns. The Policing and Crime Act 2017 brought clarity to aspects of the act, following a recommendation from the Law Commission.

Illegal Firearms and AmmunitionEdit

Section five of Part One of the Act states that an illegal firearm is one which;[1]

  • Fires more than one ammunition when the trigger is pressed
Remington 11-87 shotgun
  • Is a self-loading or pump-action rifled gun except when chambered for .22 rim-fire cartridges;
  • Has a barrel less than 30 centimetres in length or is less than 60 centimetres in length overall, except air weapons, muzzle-loading gun or signalling firearms
  • Is a self-loading or pump-action smooth-bore gun which is not an air weapon or chambered for .22 rim-fire cartridges and has a barrel less than 24 inches in length or less than 40 inches in length overall
  • Is a smooth-bore revolver gun except chambered for 9mm. rim-fire cartridges or a muzzle-loading gun
  • Is a rocket launcher or mortar except when designed for line-throwing, pyrotechnic purposes, or for signalling
    Flare guns are legal in the UK
  • Air firearm which uses a self-contained gas cartridge system,[clarification needed] i.e. the Brocock system of pump-up cartridges, each with their own pellet, but not a CO2 bulb system.
  • Weapon of whatever description designed or adapted for the discharge of any noxious liquid, gas or other

For ammunition it is illegal if they;[2]

  • Are designed to explode on or immediately before impact
  • Contain any such noxious item
  • Consists of a missile


External linksEdit