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Posted on Tuesday 6 April 2021
antique firearm gun rifle collection
Police are encouraging the public to surrender ‘antique’ firearms after a change in legislation means they may no longer be exempt from licensing requirements.

The updated legislation includes new criteria for an item to qualify as an antique firearm, meaning ownership of previously exempt items may now require a firearms license.

Seven types of ammunition will be declassified as ‘obsolete’, which has been estimated to affect up to 26,000 guns nationally.

To assist owners, a six-month transition period is currently in effect until September 21, 2021, during which owners can apply for a license, surrender affected items to the police, or otherwise dispose of the firearms.

Inspector Terry France, of Durham Constabulary Firearms Licensing Unit, said: “It’s possible that some owners may not be that knowledgeable on the subject – for example, those who have inherited weapons from parents or grandparents.

“Our advice is that if you have a firearm you think might be affected by this change in the law, get in touch with our Firearms Licensing team at the earliest possible opportunity.

“We will arrange to come and inspect the item, determine whether it requires certification, and offer our advice as to the best course of action.”

To make an enquiry, owners should contact the Firearms Licensing department on 0191 375 2246 or 0191 375 2541, or by emailing

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