Gov­ern­ment crack­down on trade in an­tique guns Move could see crack­down on weapons dat­ing back to 1900

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Nick McCarthy Crime Cor­re­spon­dent

THE gov­ern­ment is plan­ning to toughen up gun laws af­ter crimes in­volv­ing an­tique weapons dou­bled be­tween 2012 and 2016.

The Home Of­fice has launched a con­sul­ta­tion in di­rect re­sponse to cases such as the one in­volv­ing Burger Bar Boys God­fa­ther Nosa Stephen­son, who was jailed in 2015 with 17 others for their in­volve­ment in the un­der­world an­tique gun trade.

The con­sul­ta­tion will try to in­tro­duce a new le­gal def­i­ni­tion for an­tique weapons, to help en­sure they are prop­erly li­censed.

The cur­rent au­to­matic cut-off date where all weapons must be li­censed is 1939, but that could shift un­der the pro­pos­als to 1900.

Shared and age­ing firearms have be­come the weapon of choice for Birm­ing­ham crim­i­nals as modern weapons be­come more ex­pen­sive and harder to get hold of.

Be­tween and 2016 num­ber an­tique 2012 the of weapons re­cov­ered in crim­i­nal cir­cum­stances dou­bled from 46 to 91. Dur­ing the 2011 Birm­ing­ham ri­ots a St Eti­enne re­volver – used by the French mil­i­tary in 1892 – was fired at the West Mid­lands Po­lice heli­copter out­side New­town’s Bar­ton Arms. There has also been an in­crease in the use of early 20th cen­tury weapons like the US Colt re­volver, World War One Ger­man Luger and Brown­ing 9mm hand­gun.

Min­is­ter for polic­ing and the fire ser­vice Nick Hurd said: “This coun­try has some of the most ro­bust gun laws any­where in the world.

“But we must not be com­pla­cent, which is why these laws are kept un­der re­view, and a rise in an­tique guns be­ing used in crime re­quires ac­tion.”

The Home Of­fice said the con­sul­ta­tion fol­lows the 2015 con­vic­tions of an 18-strong gang of Birm­ing­ham weapon deal­ers, led by Stephen­son and the Burger Bar Boys gang.

The men, who had their sen­tences in­creased to a to­tal of more than 200 years in 2016, had sourced an­tique firearms and ar­ranged for am­mu­ni­tion to be spe­cially made to fit the weapons.

They then sold the weapons to crim­i­nal gangs for con­sid­er­able profit.

Stephen­son had his sen­tence in­creased from 16 to 22 years.

The pub­lic are in­vited to give their views in the con­sul­ta­tion, which closes on De­cem­ber 14, 2017.

firearm­scon­sul­ta­tions@home­of­fice.gsi.gov.uk

> The cur­rent au­to­matic cut-off date, af­ter which all weapons must be li­censed, is 1939

> Nosa Stephen­son

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