Let's consider the UK, where most police officers do not carry firearms.

Authorised Firearms Officers (AFOs) may only carry firearms when authorised by an "appropriate authorising officer".

Are the security staff of, let's say, the US Ambassador in the UK allowed to carry firearms beyond the premises of the US embassy and discharge the weapon (potentially public places, if there is a threat)?

  • As currently written, this is actually quite a lot of different questions, mostly about firearms laws in the UK, rather than policy or politics. It might be more suited to the Law Stack Exchange site. – origimbo Feb 8 '18 at 15:08
  • @origimbo In Britain, even if you have a licensed firearm (which doesn't apply in the case of any handgun, as they are completely outlawed, other than for police and military) you are certainly not allowed to carry it on your person around any urban area. The only licenses that are given are for sporting rifles and shotguns (used in the country). And anything above a very low calibre has to be kept under strict lock and key on the premises of a licensed gun club – WS2 Feb 8 '18 at 15:18
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    I think - only inside the embassy. But the Metropolitan police have an armed "diplomatic protection squad", to protect foreign embassies, diplomats, and other sensitive people etc.- such as the royal family and their residences. Scotland Yard may have individual arrangements with embassies. During tensions in specific countries e.g.in the Middle East, it is not unusual to see an armed officer posted on their embassy's front door. The really sensitive embassies, such as the Russian and Israeli are in Kensington Palace Gardens, which I believe has police barriers at either end. – WS2 Feb 8 '18 at 15:25

One UK tabloid newspaper suggests so, but for heads of state, not mere ambassadors.

Foreign VIP bodyguards 'carry guns'

Commander Bob Broadhurst said: "The request is always asked and nearly always declined. Occasionally, with the US, there are a number allowed - one or two close officers - to carry a firearm."

It seems that only the close protection staff of visiting heads of state are able to negotiate the issuing of temporary firearms licences (or equivalent permission). Guards who are not accredited diplomatic staff do not have immunity from UK law.

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    One amusing anecdote I heard concerned Reagan's visit to stay at Chequers with MT. The US Security boys were checking the arrangements the previous week and noted a public footpath that went within about 30 feet of the front window. "Can we block this path off?" asked one of the US guys to the senior police officer supervising. "Afraid not. That's a Public Right of Way. And you can only change that with an Act of Parliament. And you won't get one of those by next week. Besides this is Buckinghamshire!" – WS2 Feb 8 '18 at 17:18

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