So last week i took my mrs out shooting. She wanted to practice with the centrefire having now mastered shooting good 1" groups with my 17hmr. I took her to a local farm where i have permission after checking with the land owner that this was ok by him which it was.
We set up some targets in a valley with a safe backstop and did a bit of target shooting at a range of 300yards into the middle of the field.
Whilst shooting a couple walked up a public footpath which ran parallel to the field in which we were shooting, although as they were well over 300 feet away from the shooting i did not think it was necessary to cease shooting entirely whilst they walked what is quite a long footpath.
About an hour later after we had just packed everything up the police turned up. They said that they had heard the shooting and come to investigate what was happening, i explained that i had permission to be there and that i had a license and was not breaking the law. They both seemed reasonable officers however the one in charge started saying that he wanted me to be more careful shooting near to the footpath and the road behind us. I explained that i knew the law and had a range finder and had double checked that i was over 50 feet from either the road or the footpath (which i didnt actually legally need to be but did for good practice.)
Anyway after a chat which seemed nice, the officers even wanted to see my rifle and seemed interested to find out more about shooting. However just as they were about to leave they had a call through to say a member of the public had rang in a complaint about someone shooting - me of course. It must have been the couple walking along the footpath on my permission.
The police just said to be careful in the future etc etc and left - no further drama
however ........... this week i received a call from my FEO who said that the officer who id been speaking to had got in contact with him and reported that he was concerned about my shooting ?? he had also told my FEO that i was shooting very close to a footpath and also a road which is used by cars, also that he was concerned id been letting my Mrs shoot the gun. My FEO explained that he had set the officer straight in that i am legally allowed to let me mrs shoot my gun under supervision and that there is no specific law which prevents me from shooting near the public footpath.
He was however concerned that the officer reported me having been shooting near to the road and would have to carry out an investigation. He did tell me not to be too worried and that there sorts of complaints are not uncommon, i havent had my guns removed or anything and hes told me i can keep shooting without issue but maybe to stay away from the area where the complaint is about.
Although i know i was more than 50feet from the road, and that the shooting was in no way a danger to the public on the foot path i cant help but be worried. I love shooting and if i were to lose my license id be totally gutted. Although i know i wasnt too near to the road im sure joe bloggs member of the public has blown things out of proportion and the officer who has reported me to the FEO sounds like he was determined to find fault in me. I dont know how i can prove i was far enough away and the police officer clearly doesnt know as when he arrived wed already packed the gun away so i dont see how he can say exactly where i was.
But ive been reading a lot of stuff online and i know the police and the firearms licensing units can be very harsh on us shooters and that knee jerk over the top reactions can be common. Id appreciate if anyone has any advise or if anyone has been in a similar situation ? Im a member of BASC and have contacted them but they have bascially said they cant do much until the police either do or do not issue proceedings against me... ill be honest the whole thing has me very worried. Im an upstanding citizen and a job that requires me to have a clean criminal record and although i know i wasnt doing anything wrong - im starting to get myself very worried just because there is always the potential for disaster and given these events i dont feel that my luck is in right now