The EU deactivation standard came into force for all Member States including the UK on 8th April 2016. On 28th June 2018, this standard was revised with an increase in severity of the deactivation work required. In the UK, the current EU specification is the only standard that firearms can be newly deactivated to. The only exceptions to this are mortars, grenade launchers, flare pistols and artillery where (as there is no established EU standard), the previous UK standards are applied.
The EU implementing regulation (2018/337) for the current EU deactivation standard can be viewed here.
UK stakeholders including the Home Office, law enforcement, the Proof Houses and the DWA worked together to produce further guidance for those undertaking deactivations. This can be viewed here.
Whilst in theory the whole of the EU is now deactivating to a single standard, collectors should be aware that the quality of deactivation and application of the required processes varies significantly from country to country. Whilst the purchase of a deactivated firearm from an EU member state other than the UK may seem straightforward, such purchases are highly likely to be scrutinised by UK Border Force. Where items are deemed non-compliant with the current deactivation requirements, they may be seized.
We are constantly asked whether, assuming there is a BREXIT, the UK will revert to its previous deactivation standards. Unfortunately, we don't have a crystal ball to be able to answer this one.