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There has been much debate about the legality of possessing certain kinds of bullets, so I thought I would just clarify it for everyone within this post. I regularly seem to get embroiled in 'debates' about bullets and whether or not they are legal to possess if of a certain nature, (i.e. explosive, incendiary or armour piercing), the main thrust of the debate being a misconception that just because it is a bullet on its own, and not attached to a live cartridge, it must therefore be legal. This is not the case and remember, ignorance is no defence in the eyes of the law. So, let's get it straight from here on in, so I can stop having 'debates' with people !!! Just direct them to this thread......
First off, some clarity on terminology.
Bullet - A missile designed to be fired from a weapon when the contents of the propelling cartridge are discharged. Basically, a bullet is the thing that comes out of a barrel at high speed. It is NOT i repeat NOT a cartridge case !
Cartridge - The metal container that contains an explosive propelling charge which, when 'fired' propels a missile down a barrel. It can also be defined as a 'holder' for a bullet.
Round - A bullet and a cartridge when still joined as one unit. A round may also refer to a large calibre projectile such as an artillery shell, but never to a small arms bullet.
Missile - Any item that is designed to be discharged from a weapon when it is fired. This does NOT mean a missile under the purest sense of the term, (i.e. a weapon that is propelled by a rocket motor) but refers to ANYTHING that is fired from a weapon, whether it be a bullet, shotgun pellets, spike, lance, spear.......etc.
So, here is what section five of the firearms act says.....
(1A)Subject to section 5A of this Act, a person commits an offence if, without the authority of the Secretary of State [F8or the Scottish Ministers (by virtue of provision made under section 63 of the Scotland Act 1998], he has in his possession, or purchases or acquires, or sells or transfers—
(a)any firearm which is disguised as another object;
(b)any rocket or ammunition not falling within paragraph (c) of subsection (1) of this section which consists in or incorporates a missile designed to explode on or immediately before impact and is for military use;
(c)any launcher or other projecting apparatus not falling within paragraph (ae) of that subsection which is designed to be used with any rocket or ammunition falling within paragraph (b) above or with ammunition which would fall within that paragraph but for its being ammunition falling within paragraph (c) of that subsection;
(d)any ammunition for military use which consists in or incorporates a missile designed so that a substance contained in the missile will ignite on or immediately before impact;
(e)any ammunition for military use which consists in or incorporates a missile designed, on account of its having a jacket and hard-core, to penetrate armour plating, armour screening or body armour;
(f)any ammunition which incorporates a missile designed or adapted to expand on impact;
(g)anything which is designed to be projected as a missile from any weapon and is designed to be, or has been, incorporated in—
(i)any ammunition falling within any of the preceding paragraphs; or
(ii)any ammunition which would fall within any of those paragraphs but for its being specified in subsection (1) of this section.]
(2)The weapons and ammunition specified in subsections (1) and (1A) of this section (including, in the case of ammunition, any missiles falling within subsection (1A)(g) of this section)are referred to in this Act as “prohibited weapons” and “prohibited ammunition” respectively.
I have highlighted section 5(1A)(g) as this is the bit that is relevant. This section clearly states that any bullet, (referred to as a missile), that is included in the above sections is illegal to possess. The relevant sections are (d) and (e) which clearly state both incendiary and armour piercing types.
So, from this, put into simple English, any bullet that is contained in the descriptions above, regardless as to whether or not it is 'attached' to a cartridge, is illegal to possess without the relevant firearms licence. Incendiary, armour piercing, armour piercing incendiary or explosive (sub-section (c)), bullets or any combination of these are ILLEGAL TO POSSESS under section 5 of the firearms act.
So, do not fall into the trap as, remember, ignorance is no defence in the eyes of the law. A bullet, on its own, even if not connected to a live cartridge, is ILLEGAL TO POSSESS if it falls within the categories above.
Here is a summary in plain English, published by the government......
Firearms Act – Section 5 descriptions - Plain English
5 (1) (a) Any firearm capable of burst- or fully automatic fire and component parts of these.
5 (1) (ab) Any semi-automatic, self-loading or pump action rifled gun and carbines but not pistols
5 (1) (aba) Any firearm with a barrel less than 30 cm long or which is less than 60 cm long overall – short firearms (pistols and revolvers).
5 (1) (ac) Any pump-action or self-loading shotgun with a barrel less than 24 inches long or which is less than 40 inches long overall.
5 (1) (ad) Any smoothbore revolver gun except 9MM rimfire or muzzle loaded.
5 (1) (ae) Any rocket launcher or mortar which fires a stabilised missile other than for line throwing, pyrotechnics or signalling.
5 (1) (af) Any firearm using a self contained gas cartridge system.
5 (1) (b) Any weapon designed or adapted to discharge noxious nasties.
5 (1) (c) Any cartridge with an explosive bullet or any ammo designed to discharge noxious nasties, includes anything which can be fired from a gun and is designed to go bang at the target.
5 (1A) (a) Disguised firearms.
5 (1A) (b) Explosive rockets or ammo not covered in 5 (1) (c)
5 (1A) (c) Any launcher or projector not covered in 5 (1) (ae) designed to fire any rocket or ammo covered by 5 (1A) (b) or 5 (1) (c).
5 (1A) (d) Incendiary ammo.
5 (1A) (e) Armour-piercing ammo.
5 (1A) (f) Expanding ammo.
5 (1A) (g) Expanding, explosive, armour-piercing or incendiary bullets.
And with that, I shall sign off and hope to not have any more arguements over it !! Fed up of them to be honest......
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