Man who failed to check weapon jailed for ‘reckless disregard’ for gun laws
PUBLISHED: 12:27 13 July 2018
A Suffolk gun enthusiast who claimed he bought a rifle at a car boot sale has has been jailed for five years for what a judge described as a “reckless disregard” for gun laws.
Police officers who went to Mark Lufkin’s home on an unrelated matter seized the Sturm Ruger rifle which was in the kitchen by a fridge.
Lufkin claimed the gun was deactivated but the officers were concerned this wasn’t the case and it was later found to be in working order, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
Lufkin, 43, of The Street, Langham, admitted possessing a prohibited rifled gun in January last year and possessing expanding ammunition.
After hearing evidence from Lufkin and a firearms expert Judge Rupert Overbury said he couldn’t find any exceptional circumstances that would allow him not to pass a mandatory five year sentence.
Sentencing Lufkin the judge said that during a separate visit to Lufkin’s house police had found a lawfully held 20 round magazine, which fitted the rifle, in a bedroom.
“Where there is unlawful possession of active firearms, and in your case lawfully held ammunition for the relevant calibre, the potential for unmitigated disaster if such items fell into the wrong hands makes the passing of deterrent sentences logical and necessary,” said the judge.
He said Lufkin claimed he had bought the gun for £50 from a car boot sale from an American called “Jim” and thought it had been deactivated.
However Judge Overbury said Lufkin hadn’t obtained any supporting documentation about the rifle being deactivated and had accepted the seller’s word.
“You bought something without checking it out properly,” he said.
“I have severe doubts about the accuracy of your account,” added the judge.
He said that as a firearm certificate holder for 14 years Lufkin would have had ample knowledge about how a weapon would and should be deactivated and what checks should be made when buying any weapon.
“You conducted absolutely no checks of your own, which was a reckless disregard of the firearms legislation.”
Jamie Sawyer for Lufkin said there was no evidence the rifle had been discharged or that it was to be used for a criminal purpose.
He said people who knew Lufkin spoke highly of his competence as a firearm certificate holder.