Semi-auto air pistols at risk

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Owners of five-shot semi-automatic air pistols such as the Steyr LP50 could be at risk of having them seized, as a potentially dangerous test case regarding the LP50 goes to the Home Office.

North Yorkshire police have seized LP 50 components from Steyr UK headquarters following a routine visit by a firearms officer. The seized parts will now be sent to the National Ballistics Intelligence Service to ascertain whether or not the design is ‘self-loading’.

If this analysis considers the LP50 not to be self-loading, the guns will continue under their current legal status and their sale and use will be legal. If, however, NABIS comes to the conclusion that LP50s are ‘self-loading’, the seized firearms will remain seized, with the risk that other police forces will follow North Yorkshire’s lead.

The National Small-bore Rifle Association has already said that, contrary to rumours, it will not seize any of its members’ semi-automatic pistols, and advised that as of now, the situation remains the same.

Vice-chairman Ken Nash said: “The general consensus is that the only long term solution is for the law to be clarified. This will not happen as part of the Police and Crime Bill 2016, which is close to its conclusion with Royal Assent due early in 2017. It is more likely to be part of a codification of previous Firearms Acts. However, timescales for this are unknown but it won’t be soon. None of the above is likely to lead to a swift conclusion in our favour.”

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