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Legality of 'inert' reproduction flintlock pistol
#1
Hi all!

I'm interested in flintlock weapons, an offshoot from maritime and pirate history. I have a small and growing collection of related items (cutlasses and the like), but am missing a flintlock pistol or two. I can't afford genuine antiques in display-worthy condition, and I'm not so bothered about it being a genuine one anyway. I just want a nice display item. To cut a long story short...

There are sellers in Canada and the USA advertising Indian-made flintlock reproductions. These are supplied with the touch hole not drilled, so as such are incapable of firing despite being otherwise functional. One website claims that there are no problems importing these into the UK as inert reproductions. I take that to mean not a firearm, nor even an imitation or realistic imitation due to it being a reproduction of an antique, thus not falling foul of the laws.

It makes me a bit nervous though. While I'm fairly familiar overall with the firearms regulations, this particular case seems unclear.

Has anyone here actually imported one of these inert reproductions, or can shed more light on the legality of them in the UK?

Cheers,
Rick.
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#2
I have seen the web-site you refer to and they have a very nice Paget Carbine that they claim is legal to export from the US to the UK and Continental Europe.  I would dearly like one but am very apprehensive as despite reassurances from my local firearms department they added a caveat that UK Customs might not be prepared to allow it's import??  Now, do they not have the same boss or is it just my imagination?
As an aside, approx one year ago I bought a section 58-2 antique percussion target pistol from a reputable dealer in the US, I checked with my local Firearms Department that this was 'legal', they told me it was fine as long as the seller included the correct paperwork with a full description of the item.  He parcelled it up and sent it to me, it arrived in the UK and was immediately returned to him by UK Customs who claimed it was classed as a 'firearm' and therefore not legal to own in the UK without a proper licence.
The seller refunded my money but I lost approx $70 shipping.  I tried to contact HMRC but was passed from department to department, kept on hold for ages and eventually I gave up so from now on, once bitten twice shy.
Out of interest have you checked Henry Krank's inventory, they have a vast range of genuine inert firearms including a nice Ketland style flintlock pistol that would look the part tucked into a pirate sash!
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#3
Thank you for your reply - great username you have there, Arrr!

I also collect knives, and HMRC has a rapidly increasing tendency to seize knives (even simple penknives) that are perfectly legal in the UK and can be bought in shops. The way the law works, even if one takes HMRC to court to get the knife back and the court finds the knife legal, it does not set any legal precedent on HMRC the way it would for other things. So HMRC can continue to do what it wants, and does.

That's one of my concerns; HMRC seems to follow its own, very more draconian 'rules' than the law. It can be difficult (and potentially very costly) to challenge it. Plus there's the real risk of a follow-up arrest - it happened in the penknife case when HMRC reported the 'import of an offensive weapon' to the police.

I have checked Kranks, and in fact they have the very pistols I am interested in. I tried to buy one. However, despite advertising them as inert, they will not supply them without ruining them by cutting out the barrels themselves. They do this when one is ordered before sending it.

It seems they do a sort of partial and unofficial deactivation on the already inert reproductions. After conversation with someone there, I am left still confused as I was told they import the pistols already inert (as I have described). Then they choose to make them even more inert and, in my opinion, ruined. I have no intention of trying to make the thing fireable, but I don't want slotted barrels spoiling the look. As far as I could tell it's something they simply choose to do. I couldn't get any further and seemed to be irritating the person by simply questioning why they did this. It felt like I was banging my head against the wall so I gave up and came here.

I probably have my answer really, but I'm still hoping to find some way to do this.
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#4
(02-09-2017, 02:53 PM)RickDastardly Wrote: Thank you for your reply - great username you have there, Arrr!

I also collect knives, and HMRC has a rapidly increasing tendency to seize knives (even simple penknives) that are perfectly legal in the UK and can be bought in shops. The way the law works, even if one takes HMRC to court to get the knife back and the court finds the knife legal, it does not set any legal precedent on HMRC the way it would for other things. So HMRC can continue to do what it wants, and does.

That's one of my concerns; HMRC seems to follow its own, very more draconian 'rules' than the law. It can be difficult (and potentially very costly) to challenge it. Plus there's the real risk of a follow-up arrest - it happened in the penknife case when HMRC reported the 'import of an offensive weapon' to the police.

I have checked Kranks, and in fact they have the very pistols I am interested in. I tried to buy one. However, despite advertising them as inert, they will not supply them without ruining them by cutting out the barrels themselves. They do this when one is ordered before sending it.

It seems they do a sort of partial and unofficial deactivation on the already inert reproductions. After conversation with someone there, I am left still confused as I was told they import the pistols already inert (as I have described). Then they choose to make them even more inert and, in my opinion, ruined. I have no intention of trying to make the thing fireable, but I don't want slotted barrels spoiling the look. As far as I could tell it's something they simply choose to do. I couldn't get any further and seemed to be irritating the person by simply questioning why they did this. It felt like I was banging my head against the wall so I gave up and came here.

I probably have my answer really, but I'm still hoping to find some way to do this.

New regulations apply

https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...u-20152403

Slotted barrels and welded hardened steel plugs required.
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#5
Thank you PG. I finally found that myself. That legislation makes a lot of the existing deactivated firearms no longer legally deactivated.

There's a compromise that we can still own them as-is, but they cannot be transferred in any way without being re-certified under the new, more severe, deactivation. That doesn't effect me though.

I did finally get my pistol. After a few conversations I was assured that the process would not be visible as long as I didn't look inside the barrel. So, I went for it.
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#6
There is a dangerously vague law which embraces the ambiguous term "easily converted ". I have no idea what that means in reality but a lot of 'inert' muzzle loaders were sold in the past that were only sans touch hole.
I would say where is the motivation or the intent? A piece of gas pipe is "easily converted" but after the Mick Sheppard case a lot of people are more wary
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#7
The Law is an ass, as we know. As soon as a definition of an engineered item to ban it is made, anomalies appear. I think an Austin Seven kingpin probably falls foul of the definition of a muzzle loading barrel. It has a quarter inch bore to carry grease to the lower bush, and a smaller hole at right angles to feed the bush. The hole is rather too large for our idea of a touch hole, but I think the definition would hold. No doubt there are many other innocent items that fall foul of definitions intended for another purpose. Of course no-one would dream of bringing a prosecution for possession of such an item -----would they----?
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#8
I'm not entirely sure about the presumption of innocence. Anybody familiar with the case of Mick Shepherd would have qualms.
My view is, this is only a hobby, if there is any doubt in your mind, listen to that doubt because the price of getting it wrong can be out of all proportion.
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