Latest news about ethical consumerism


Amazon sold illegal weapons

Dec 16

Written by:
16/12/2015 16:12  RssIcon

Investigation finds company potentially breaking the law


An investigation by the Guardian newspaper revealed that has been selling illegal weapons on its online store.

In test purchases, the Guardian bought three weapons on

  • 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, 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.


Discover more about our boycott call against Amazon 



This story has been added to our corporate database. The database powers all our live product guides, giving the score for each company on our rankings tables. Find out more about how we rate companies.







Full News Archive


Ethical news archive going back to July 2009.

Read More