Amazon sold illegal weapons
Investigation finds company potentially breaking the law
An investigation by the Guardian newspaper revealed that Amazon.co.uk has been selling illegal weapons on its online store.
In test purchases, the Guardian bought three weapons on Amazon.co.uk:
- a pistol that fires a jet of high-strength pepper spray at 112mph;
- a 1m-volt stun gun disguised as a torch; and
- a baseball cap containing a hidden stabbing knuckleduster in its peak.
The sale of all three is illegal in the UK.
All three are outlawed in Britain and a Home Office spokesperson said selling such weapons was against the law:
“It is an offence to sell any prohibited firearms – including stun guns – and we are increasing the maximum prison sentence for this offence from 10 years to life in prison."
“Nor should anyone intending to carry these weapons in the UK be in any doubt of their illegality. Anyone caught in possession of a weapon banned in the UK faces being charged with illegal importation of a prohibited weapon, which can lead to a prison sentence."
The pepper spray pistol has been sold directly by Amazon for at least 14 months and has, according to the Guardian, been making sales. Stock levels have also been replenished.
The Guardian also found that police in Scotland are already investigating an Amazon sale of the same pistol model to a customer in Edinburgh in October last year.
Even though the online retailer’s legal department was aware of the investigation, Amazon.co.uk continued to advertise, sell, and top up stock in its UK warehouse. The Guardian was able to buy the pistol with ease, receiving it within 48 hours of ordering.
The stun gun and cap were dispatched to the Guardian by independent Amazon sellers in the US and Israel respectively. Both carried misleading labels on the packaging; the cap was marked as a “toy part”.
The Guardian sent details of the weapon purchases to Amazon, which removed all items from sale immediately.
In a statement, Amazon said:
“All [Amazon] sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who don’t will be subject to action including potential removal of their account. The products in question are no longer available.”
Amazon declined to comment on the fact it is the seller of Guardian Angel II pepper pistols.
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