As being found guilty of illegally possessing a firearm carries a minimum prison sentence of five years, it’s vital to do the right thing if you are accused. Getting the right legal advice is the most important first step. After that, there are a number of important considerations to take into account.
The best-case scenario is to avoid being accused in the first place. Sometimes, the cause of being accused of illegally possessing a firearm is a misunderstanding or confusion around firearms and shotgun certificates – and there are some precautions you can take to make this less likely.
Not protecting your guns properly can lead to false accusations of illegally possessing guns or to losing your firearm or shotgun certificate. Gun clubs recommend that owners of firearms and shotguns clean and put them away as soon as you have finished using them. They also suggest that you check your car and pockets well to make sure no unused ammunition has fallen out.
When transporting guns, they should not be left unattended in a vehicle for any longer than is strictly necessary and should be kept well out of sight. If you ask another person to transport your firearms or shotguns for you, they must hold an appropriate certificate. If a lapse in security does occur and lead to an infringement of weapons laws, seek legal advice immediately.
Finding a Firearm or Shotgun
If you move into a new house or inherit one through probate, you may find weapons you do not have the legal right to possess. If this does happen, you should report it to the police immediately. Options for storing these weapons while you decide what to do with them include: seeking a temporary permit to keep the guns, asking a local firearms dealer to hold onto them for you, asking someone with the appropriate certificate to look after them or having them deactivated. It is also a good idea to seek expert legal advice if you find a firearm on your premises.
If you are Falsely Accused of Possessing a Firearm
Sometimes mistakes are unavoidable or accusations are made maliciously. In these circumstances, it is essential that you speak to a solicitor with experience of dealing with firearms offenses and accusations. Do not speak to the police until you have received legal advice and have legal representation. Speaking to a solicitor and having one present when you are interviewed will not incriminate you in any way.
There are certain behaviours that the police do regard as suspicious or incriminating, however, so it is important to avoid them at all cost. Trying to clear your name yourself by speaking to the accuser or witnesses is one such action. Attempting to hide or remove evidence is another. Never try to take any action if you are accused of illegally possessing a firearm other than to speak to an experienced solicitor.
At Edward Hayes, we have specialist solicitors who can deal with all kinds of issues surrounding firearm licensing and helping people who have been falsely accused of illegally possessing a weapon.
If you have been falsely accused of possessing an illegal firearm in the south east and need immediate advice call 0800 085 9684. If you are in another part of the country, call 0845 602 3043. Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.