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Blank Firing Weapons

Information about blank firing weapons, ammunition and certification requirements.

What are blank firing Weapons?

Blank firing weapons generally fall into two different categories:

Those Not Requiring Certification

These are Imitation Firearms not readily convertible into a firearm to which Section 1 of the 1968 Act, as amended, applies. These "firearms" are not firearms within the definition of Section 57 (1) of that Act, and therefore are not required to be held on a certificate.

Such weapons are capable of firing or capable of being adapted or converted to fire blank ammunition. With blank ammunition, no shot, bullet or other missile is discharged from the barrel- you just get a "bang" and possibly a puff of smoke.

Such weapons are often used in battle re-enactments, theatre and TV productions and for starting races.

Exemption from the certification procedures does not automatically exempt such a firearm from all the other provisions of the Act, the application of which should be considered separately.

Those Requiring Certification

These include:

(a) those firearms to which Section 1 of the 1968 Act applies.

(b) those firearms to which Section 2 of the 1968 Act applies.

(c) those firearms to which Section 1 of the 1982 Act applies.

With regard to (a) above- these firearms are "real" firearms such as rifles and handguns which are not  Prohibited Weapons subject to Section 5.

With regard to (b) above- these are conventional shotguns (but not semi-automatic or pump-action shotguns with a magazine capable of holding more than two cartridges), and include smooth bore muskets.

With regard to (c) above- these are imitation firearms readily convertible into firearms to which Section 1 of the 1968 Act applies.

All the above three types of firearms can be made, adapted or converted to fire blank ammunition, but would require a certificate to be held on.

Blank Ammunition

Section 1 (1) (b) of the 1968 Act requires that ammunition to which that Section applies can only be possessed, purchased or acquired by a person authorised by a certificate.

However, Section 1 (4) (c) exempts blank cartridges not more than one inch in diameter, measured immediately in front of the rim or cannelure of the base of the cartridge, from this requirement.