What are 'Deactivated' weapons?:

Deactivated weapons are any firearms which have been converted, in such a manner that they can no longer discharge any shot, bullet or other missile. More importantly, deactivation is intended to be permanent and such firearms should be incapable of being reactivated without specialist tools or skills.

Deactivation work carried out in the UK since 1st July 1989 will generally have been endorsed by one of the Proof Houses, the weapon proof-marked and a certificate of deactivation issued.

To these ends, any weapon, even a prohibited weapon such as a machine gun, can be deactivated. The outcome is that the weapon is no longer a firearm within the meaning of the Firearms Acts, and consequently may be possessed without a firearm or shotgun certificate and may be displayed in the owner's home, rather than be locked in a gun cabinet.

Deactivation of a firearm is not something to be undertaken by the layman. There are stringent requirements before a weapon can be proofed as deactivated and such work is best left to a gunsmith. A Registered Firearms Dealer is the best person to speak to if you require a weapon to be deactivated. He can make all the necessary arrangements for you, including deactivation of the weapon and getting it proofed.

Although the above references to proofing and certification do not preclude the possibility that a firearm which has been deactivated in some other way may also have ceased to be a firearm within the meaning of the 1968 Act (as amended), it is important that care is taken when acquiring any firearm which is described as deactivated. You should ensure that you are shown the Proof House mark and certificate issued in respect of any gun deactivated in the UK since 1st July 1989.

Deactivation of Firearms:

Section 8 of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 provides that a firearm which has been certified by one of the Proof Houses as having been deactivated in a manner approved by the Secretary of State, and marked to that effect, shall no longer be regarded as a firearm.

Firearms so deactivated and proof marked, are no longer subject to any of the conditions or controls contained in any of the Firearms Acts or Rules.

The following diagram shows those proof marks, approved by the Secretary of State under Section 8 of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988, for denoting that guns have been so deactivated. The figures “89” relate to the calendar year and change as appropriate.

proof marks as discussed in paragraph above