What Is a Firearm Offence?

A firearm offence is the unlawful ownership and/or discharging of a firearm, especially if it results in injury or death.

Firearms are highly regulated in Scotland. Under the Firearm Act 1968 and Firearm Rules legislation of 1989, only licensed gun owners can acquire and use a firearm. To qualify for a license, applicants need to: have a genuine reason to possess a firearm; pass a criminal background check; and be able to present a third-party character reference. Even licenced users need a good reason to carry a firearm in a public place.

Currently there are around 350 official firearm dealers in Scotland and an estimated 280,000 private firearms both legal and illegal. Last year there were 365 firearm offences in Scotland, one for every day of the year. The term ‘firearm’ covers air weapons, as well as rifles and handguns, and minor incidents with air weapons comprise the bulk of these offences. (Of course, air weapons can also be deadly and there have been a number of high-profile airgun homicides reported in the last few years.)


Been Charged With a Firearm Offence? We Can Help.

The most serious firearm offences are assault and homicide as the result of discharging a firearm. The seriousness of such an offence is compounded if the firearm was illegally owned and if the procurator fiscal can prove intent to seriously injure or kill. The gravity of a firearm offence charge cannot be overestimated, with the possibility of life imprisonment for a firearm homicide.


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