Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')
As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.
Advertising firearms for sale/transfer via the internet as part of a business but without the business owner actually owning the firearms (ie via Gunstar Guntrader etc) appears to be the subject of different interpretations and I am contacting the English Police Forces to obtain a firm view on how this is treated by the various Police Areas
Could you please advise what laws you apply to this type of activity, whether you would insist the Website owner held a RFD authority and needed to record all transfers and any dispensations that might be available to avoid this, or direct me to regulations which enable these websites to operate without the need for Dealer authorisation.
Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Firearms Licensing Unit of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is not held by Northumbria Police.
You should note that the Act concerns requests for Information which is “held” as opposed to answering questions generally. Section 84 of FOIA relates to recorded information held by a public authority and that it does not extend to providing explanations unless the answers are already held in a recorded form.
"Information is defined in section 84 of the Act as 'information recorded in any form'. The Act therefore only extends to requests for recorded information. It does not require public authorities to answer questions generally; only if they already hold the answers in recorded form. The Act does not extend to requests for information about policies or their implementation, or the merits or demerits of any proposal or action - unless, of course, the answer to any such request is already held in recorded form." (Day vs ICO & DWP – EA/2006/0069 Final Decision)
However, outside the Act I can advise:
“The law that relates to this subject is the Firearms Act 1968 as amended with reference to the Guide on Firearms Law 2016: A dealer is defined at Section 57(4) of the Firearms Act 1968 as a person or a corporate body who, by way of trade or business: manufactures, sells, transfers, repairs, tests or proves firearms or ammunition to which section 1 of this Act applies, or shotguns; or sells or transfers air weapons.
An advertising platform, such as Gun Trader or Gun Star, is just that, an advertising platform. It is the individual Registered Firearms Dealer (RFD) who places the advert and it is that RFD who is obliged to comply with the rules for any subsequent transaction.
The advertising platform is not controlling or directing the possession of a firearm and therefore they do not require to be registered as a firearm dealer.”