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Information » Law & Rights » Crime » Weapons and Firearms

Weapons and Firearms

Any item that can cause harm can be regarded as a weapon so these items can range from guns, knives, swords and air guns to scissors, tweezers, and even toothpicks.


  • A firearm is a weapon that shoots a bullet, pellet or air missile. Even a pea shooter can cause serious damage
  • It is a crime to have a gun to help you commit a crime
  • It doesn’t have to be a real gun. Toy or replica guns still count if it can be proved that you meant people to think that it was a real gun
  • If the police have a reason to think that you are carrying a gun they are allowed to stop and search you – see section on Stop and Search
  • In accordance with the Firearms Acts Regulations 2010 a person who is under 18 years of age may not purchase or hire any firearms, shot guns or ammunition
  • You need a firearms certificate issued by the police to possess, buy or acquire a firearm or shotgun. You must also have a certificate to buy ammunition
  • There are age restrictions on shotgun and firearms certificates, purchasing and hiring
  • There are firearms that are used for sport. These include shot guns, rifles and airguns
  • These sports enable you to use firearms in controlled and safe environments, so if you are interested in guns think about joining a gun club or taking up clay pigeon shooting
  • For more information about the age restrictions on firearms and certificates please visit met.police.uk


  • It is illegal for anyone under 18 years of age to buy a knife of any kind (including cutlery and kitchen knives)
  • It is illegal to carry a knife in public without good reason - unless it’s a knife with a folding blade 3 inches long or less, eg a Swiss Army knife. All other knives are swords are illegal
  • It is illegal to use any knife in a threatening way, even a Swiss Army knife
  • The maximum penalty for carrying a knife is 4 years in prison and a fine of £5,000
  • If you are interested in swords, consider fencing or kendo which will teach you to use a sword and to fight in a safe and controlled environment

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