Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997

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Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997
Long title An Act to extend the class of prohibited weapons under the Firearms Act 1968 to include small-calibre pistols.
Citation 1997 c. 64
Introduced by Jack Straw[1]
Territorial extent England and Wales; Scotland
Royal assent 27 November 1997
Commencement 17 December 1997,
1 February 1998[2]
Other legislation
Relates to Firearms Act 1968, Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997
Status: Current legislation
Text of statute as originally enacted
Text of the Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from the UK Statute Law Database

The Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997 was the second of two Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1997 that amended the regulation of firearms within the United Kingdom. It was introduced by the newly elected Labour government of Tony Blair. The other Act was the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997.


The act was created in response to the Snowdrop Petition following the Dunblane Massacre. The previous Conservative government had followed the recommendations of the Cullen Report on the massacre and introduced the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 that banned "high calibre" handguns, greater than .22 calibre (5.6 mm). This new (No. 2) act further banned the private possession of all cartridge ammunition handguns, regardless of calibre.

The only handguns still allowed following the ban were:

  • Antique and muzzle-loading black-powder guns
  • Guns of historic interest whose ammunition is no longer available ("Section 7.1" weapons)
  • Guns of historic interest with current calibres ("Section 7.3" weapons)[note 1]
  • Air pistols [note 2]
  • Guns which fall outside the Home Office definition of "handguns".[note 3]
  • Pistols used by hunters for humane dispatch.
  • Pistols for use as personal protection weapons, mainly in Northern Ireland by retired police or prison officers, but also prominent figures who were considered at risk.
  1. Guns of historic interest, are ones that were typically manufactured before the year 1919. Since so-called "Section 7.3" historic weapons use currently available ammunition, they must be kept at a secure designated site such as the Bisley Camp, in Surrey.
  2. Air pistols are legally required not to exceed a muzzle energy of 6 ft·lbf (8.1 J).
  3. Weapons not treated as "handguns". This exception allows National Smallbore Rifle Association (NSRA) "long arms" and long-barreled handguns of both small- and full-bore. Larger firearms, whose barrel length or overall firearm length exceeds that of a handgun are treated as rifles for legal purposes.

See also


  1. "Hansard, Vol 294 Col 851". 1997-05-22. Retrieved 2008-05-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "The Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997 (Commencement) Order 1997 (No. 3114 (c.116))". 1997-12-17. Retrieved 2008-05-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links