I am the chairman of the DWA (Deactivated Weapons Association) and I must say that we are not surprised to have read your piece. Following the Paris attacks and subsequent changes in the law forced on us by the EU, the DWA received numerous calls from UK auction houses, both large and small.
We spent hours trying to explain what is, unfortunately, a very complicated legal situation (and one that is by no means over yet) – always with the advice to join the DWA as a trade member. The reason being, it is just impossible to try and explain this slew of constantly changing legislation in one (very long) conversation.
Not a single UK auction house joined. Sadly, since then, we have had constant reports from Firearms Enquiry Officers (FEOs) and public members about auction houses breaking the law.
This letter is not a recruitment drive by the DWA. Trade membership starts at only £75 per year. However, if the chief constables keep getting feedback from their constabulary that UK businesses continue to flout the rules, then it will simply be a matter of time before the Home Office takes the easy route and bans everything.
Surely as both businesses and collectors, this is the last thing we need?