Firearms handed in during London handgun amnesty

The ARES Team

Gun buyback and amnesty programmes have been conducted around the world, being particularly popular in the United States. They have met with mixed success. The UK’s Metropolitan Police launched the #GiveUpYourGun campaign on 6 February 2017, where London residents can hand in their firearms without having to provide a name or information.

On 7 February, Metropolitan Police in Islington, London released a photograph of seven firearms that were handed in during the first two days of the campaign.

In the image above, from left to right, several firearms and non-firearm items are shown. From L-R: ‘Bull Dog’ pattern revolver (produced between 1880 and circa 1920), most likely of Belgian origin; a variation of a breech-loading single-shot pocket pistol (produced circa 1850—1870); an incomplete rough copy of an Adams-style percussion revolver (likely post-1939); an antique percussion pocket pistol (1850—1870); a Denix zinc alloy replica of a Colt Single Action Army revolver (post-1939); a single-shot breech-loading ‘saloon’ pistol (1880—circa 1920); and a ‘pepperbox’ type handgun (circa 1850—1870), likely single action and of Turkish origin.

The body of research indicates that weapons recovered through buyback programs are often more likely to be of comparatively limited use to a criminal, and thus are frequently not those weapons of most concern to law enforcement. The very small sample provided by this photograph fits with what the existing data suggests; the Bull Dog is likely the only weapon out of the seven to be of practical use to a criminal needing to fire his weapon. However, assuming that the Bull Dog and saloon pistol are not chambered for an obsolete calibre, and the Adams copy produced after 1939, then these weapons would join the pocket pistol amongst the weapons in the photograph that could constitute Section 5 Prohibited Weapons under UK law. The remaining weapons are legal to own without a license. The Denix, as a realistic imitation firearm, cannot be readily sold or transferred as-is.


Remember, all arms and munitions are dangerous. Treat all firearms as if they are loaded, and all munitions as if they are live, until you have personally confirmed otherwise. If you do not have specialist knowledge, never assume that arms or munitions are safe to handle until they have been inspected by a subject matter specialist. You should not approach, handle, move, operate, or modify arms and munitions unless explicitly trained to do so. If you encounter any unexploded ordnance (UXO) or explosive remnants of war (ERW), always remember the ‘ARMS’ acronym:

AVOID the area
RECORD all relevant information
MARK the area to warn others
SEEK assistance from the relevant authorities