With my coterminous firearms and shotgun certificates coming up for renewal shortly, I've been rushing round getting 8 identical passport photos, finding 2 upstanding members of the community to vouch for me, filling in all the forms with scrupulous accuracy, etc.
I've been fighting off the temptation to think 'the law is an ass' and 'no wonder criminals don't bother with all this form filling and just get their guns on the black market'. And then this comes along. A regular member of the public, an ex-soldier no less, finds a discarded gun in the street, does the decent thing and hands it in at the police station. And his thanks? He gets a criminal record, and is now facing 5 years in jail.
There is no flexibility written into our firearms legislation. Holding a gun without a certificate? You're guilty, end of. No defence of 'in the public interest', reasonable excuse or what-have-you. Of course we have to be tough on armed crime, but this sort of thing just makes the law look stupid.
I think I'll just double-check those forms before I send them off, all the same...