Specialist Firearms Defence Lawyers

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  • Defence Solicitors for Firearms Offences
  • Law Society Criminal Litigation Accreditation
  • Proactive & Robust Firearms Defence
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Firearms Possession, Licencing and Criminal Use Defence Lawyers

If you are accused of a firearms offence, the expertise of our people at Clifford Johnston & Co. offers you the greatest chance of a positive outcome in court.

Firearms offences are extremely serious, and the law relating to weapons and firearms in the UK can be challenging to navigate. Fortunately, our experienced team of defence solicitors have over 35 years of experience of assisting clients accused of offences such as this, and we will always strive to achieve the best possible outcome, holding the police to account where necessary.

We understand that each case is different, but Clifford Johnston and Co. can offer you expert representation, whatever the severity of your situation, ensuring that your rights are safeguarded throughout the legal process.

Clifford Johnston & Co. has been practising in this area of law for over 35 years, and we are extremely skilled in representing clients who are facing allegations of firearm offences. We are proud of our excellent reputation. People choose us because of our outstanding levels of client care – so you can be confident that we will represent your case with professionalism and care. Our team of Serious Crime Solicitors have considerable expertise in defending Firearms cases, which has seen us shortlisted as finalists for Crime Team of the year at the Manchester Legal Awards in both 2019 and 2020.


Crime team of the year Manchester


Why choose Clifford Johnston & Co?

Our legal knowledge, experience, and history of offering outstanding personal support mean that Clifford Johnston & Co are well equipped to represent you if you are facing allegations or charges relating to firearms offences. We understand the importance of proactive legal representation from outset in order to achieve the best possible outcome, so it is crucial that if you are accused of a firearms offence that you contact us as soon as possible. Our experienced defence lawyers will work with you, ensuring that the police have full awareness of your situation, explaining the process to you and making sure that you understand what is happening and are aware of your options.  Where possible we will work to secure evidence to support your case, ensuring that you are treated fairly and in line with your legal rights.

We are able to challenge police refusals to issue firearms licences where necessary, and where there is an allegation of an infringement of such a licence, we will examine the legitimacy of that allegation. When a firearms charge is brought, the weapon will always be examined by a trained firearms police officer in order to determine the exact nature of the weapon and its capabilities. We are able, where necessary to instruct experts to consider evidence relating to Forensic Discharge Residue (FDR), DNA and fingerprint analysis, and whether the weapon and any ammunition recovered are compatible with each other or the crime committed.

What are firearms offences? 

There are a wide range of offences under the Firearms Act 1968, and this can be a complex area of law, with charges ranging from a fine to lifetime imprisonment, depending on the nature of the offence. Broadly speaking, a firearm is a lethal barrelled weapon, a prohibited weapon or a relevant component part or accessory to either. This includes shotguns, handguns, air weapons, imitation firearms, CS gas and pepper spray. An imitation firearm can be anything that looks like one, regardless of its actual capabilities.

There are a great number of offences under the Firearms Act; gun ownership in the UK is tightly regulated and possessing certain weapons or ammunition without having met the legally required conditions is an offence. Failing to obtain a firearm certificate or to comply with the terms of the certificate, unlawfully possessing or selling a firearm, importing or modifying a weapon and carrying a weapon or imitation weapon in a public place can all incur severe penalties.

Common firearms offences include:

  • Possession of firearms and shotguns without a certificate
  • Manufacture, sale or transfer of firearms
  • Conversion – shortening the barrel of a shotgun to a length less than 24 inches, or converting anything which has the appearance of being a firearm (but not capable of discharging a missile) into a firearm
  • Possession of prohibited weapons
  • Criminal use of firearms – it is an offence to have possession of a firearm, imitation firearm or ammunition with the intent to endanger life, or to cause a person to fear or believe that they are at risk of violence
  • Committing certain offences whilst in possession of a firearm or imitation
  • Resisting arrest or preventing the arrest someone else whilst using a firearm or imitation
  • Importation of firearms.

Possession of a firearm is a relatively straightforward charge, and if you are found to be carrying a weapon in public that anyone believes is a firearm, this may also be an offence, even if the weapon is not what it appears to be, so it is crucial that any such weapons are kept securely and only used in situations where their purpose is not likely to be misunderstood.

The various regulations are comprehensive and if you are charged with an offence or summonsed to court, it is always advisable to seek expert legal advice in order to scrutinise the nature of the charges against you. At Clifford Johnston and Co., we will always examine the circumstances surrounding your case to ensure that the charges are valid and will offer you bespoke legal advice related to your situation.

What are the penalties for firearms offences?

Firearms offences are extremely serious and the penalties for committing an offence under the Firearms Act reflect that severity. The most serious offences are punishable by life imprisonment, whilst others carry sentences of up to 10 years. Certain offences require a Mandatory Minimum Sentences of five years imprisonment. This is automatically applied if an offence is committed with prohibited weapons as defined in law, including:

  • machine guns, burst fire weapons
  • any self-loading or pump-action rifled gun
  • handguns
  • revolvers
  • self-loading shotguns
  • any missile, such as a bomb or grenade designed to explode
  • any firearm concealed or disguised as another object, such as a phone gun, pen gun or key fob gun.

Where an offence involves a prohibited weapon, the mandatory minimum sentence of five years imprisonment always applies unless there are “exceptional circumstances” that can be clearly demonstrated in court.

If you are unsure as to whether a weapon falls into the prohibited category, if you have been charged with possession of a prohibited weapon or any other firearms offence, you should contact Clifford Johnston & Co as a matter of urgency to ensure that you receive the best possible advice.  We will always seek to give you clear advice and to manage your expectations concerning any potential sentencing outcomes.

Contact us

If you are facing firearms charges, seeking legal advice as soon as possible is a must. You need a trusted Criminal Defence Lawyer by your side, which we can provide here at Clifford Johnston. Our level of expertise is second to none, and we can guide you through your case.

With offices across Stockport and Manchester, we regularly support clients across the UK who have been charged with a firearms offence. As one of the top 3% of legal aid providers in the country and with our reputation for outstanding client care, you can be assured that your case is in safe hands with us.

Get in touch today for affordable and high-quality representation.

Need some professional advice?

Do you have any issues that you are worried about? Contact our professional team for a free, no-obligation informal discussion, where we can discuss your particular requirements in greater detail.

Clifford Johnston & Co. Accreditations

  • assault defence lawyers