ACWS Notices - Violent Crime Reduction Bill (29-Nov-2006)
VIOLENT CRIME REDUCTION BILL
Please find following a synopsis of the salient points of the Violent Crime Reduction Bill which was given Royal assent and became an Act on 8 November 2006. The Sections will be brought into force by the Secretary of State (who will also issue further detailed guidance) over the course of the next six to eight months or so.
‘Crucial element is Section 35. Section 34 creates various offences relating to the sale, transfer, manufacture and/or import of ‘realistic imitation firearms’. Section 35 creates various defences to Section 34 offences. Within this there are crucial safeguards for re-enactors that shall permit them to still obtain both blank firing and de-activated items for the purposes of re-enactment.
First Section 35 (1) - ‘it shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under Section 34 in respect of any conduct to show that the conduct was for the purpose only of making the imitation firearm in question available for one or more of the purposes specified in sub-section 2.
Section 35 (2) (e) states that one of these purposes is ‘the organisation and holding of historical re-enactments organised and held by the person specified or described for the purpose of this section by Regulation made by the Secretary of State’.
Section 35 (7) states that for the purpose of this section ‘historical re-enactment means any presentation or other event held for the purposes of re-enacting an event from the past or of illustrating conduct from a particular time or period in the past.
Apparently it has also been agreed by the Secretary of State (Home Office) that they will henceforth recognise any group regardless of size in respect of Section 35 (7) - ‘historical re-enactment’ provided it has third party public liability insurances in the name of that group or society. Re-enactors are therefore to be recognised in law as a specific legal activity with a workable definition. The baseline is that whatever the ‘historic activity ‘ being ‘illustrated’, from whatever period all it needs to do is fit the requirements of Section 35 (7) and carry third party public liability insurances in its name. It is to be an offence to put on any form of ‘public’ display even if for private and on private land without such insurances all re-enactments groups will automatically fulfil this definition in complying with the NAReS requirement for insurance.
Section 36 is a long section but ‘realistic imitation firearms’ crucially EXCLUDES de-activated and antique firearms (Section 36) (1) (b). Thus the legislation allows re-enactors to continue purchasing, transferring, importing and even within the law manufacturing blank firing ‘realistic imitation firearms’. Equally it does not affect deactivated and antique firearms at all. Finally it defines the legal meaning of ‘re-enactor’ in it’s widest possible form.
The efforts of all re-enactors at all levels, including ACWS letter writing campaign, has thus proved to be fruitful.
29th November 2006