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Thread: Personal Experience that could define legal status.

  1. #1

    Personal Experience that could define legal status.

    Everyone who shoots comes across situations which for them define what you can and cant do when shooting. It would be useful perhaps for anyone who shoots to share those experiences as a bit of learning without having to go through the same situation. A bit like 'case- law' with a health warning.

    An example to illustrate. I used to shoot,(on my own aged 14/15) on an area of heathland in north Shropshire which was owned by a local racehorse breeder who gave me his permission.
    This was the late 60's. There was a policeman friend of the family who called in and who was a policeman first and a friend second. He advised me not to cross the road with an open shotgun as he would 'arrest me' - it had to be slipped. I met another policeman whilst out with the gun, no slip, and crossed the road in front of him ( unintentionally) with the gun broken. He stopped me but not to arrest me but ask me about the 50 foot rule from the centre of the highway - which I new and could recite almost word for word and explained this was why I had taken out the cartridges and broken the gun. I have never known the rules about slips in those days but now suspect its the view of a citizen who sees you that could determine your fate rather than a law, since any firearm could be quickly used to shoot in a public place,even if it was in pieces or slipped.
    I am sure we slip guns for those who dont appreciate how theycould be used and there is the rule about a gun and ammo in a public place without good reason but does anyone know definitively the law on what might be termed 'open carry' (rifles or shotguns?) It used to be commonplace years ago but now its almost never seen (except on Exmoor)
    Cheers.

  2. #2
    Kes, I have seen plenty of cases where unslipped (an unbroken!) shotguns are carried on a Public Highway, say when a group of guns moves from one drive to another; where a line of guns shoots towards and over a Public highway and well within the 50' rule; of C/F rifles carried unslipped in vehicles; of deerstalkers happy to remove their (unslipped) rifle from the car and get ready (i.e. load) still standing on that Public Highway with lots of traffic whizzing past; and even of several unslipped and loaded rifles carried in the back of an open Landrover pick-up while driving through a little town at night on the way to a foxing spot. (Just visualize this: It was as if the SAS set out on a raid!)
    I am not condoning it, but it happens.

    Personally I have no issue carrying an unslipped gun or rifle while crossing a small country lane if I have permission on either side. I feel that constitutes 'good reason'. I do have an issue with the above scenario of driving through a town, and have given up foxing with that bunch of gents, who considered me a whimp when I mentioned it was not such a great idea.
    This is, btw, The Cotswolds, not Exmoor.
    Those who do not know the rules/Law do generally not take kindly to the suggestion of being a little more discreet.
    • Do not be seduced by the marketing-men....

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Hamburger View Post
    Kes, I have seen plenty of cases where unslipped (an unbroken!) shotguns are carried on a Public Highway, say when a group of guns moves from one drive to another; where a line of guns shoots towards and over a Public highway and well within the 50' rule; of C/F rifles carried unslipped in vehicles; of deerstalkers happy to remove their (unslipped) rifle from the car and get ready (i.e. load) still standing on that Public Highway with lots of traffic whizzing past; and even of several unslipped and loaded rifles carried in the back of an open Landrover pick-up while driving through a little town at night on the way to a foxing spot. (Just visualize this: It was as if the SAS set out on a raid!)
    I am not condoning it, but it happens.
    Is any of those acts unlawful?

  4. #4
    I think there used to be a law that anyone under the age of 17 was not allowed to carry a gun that was not secured so as not to be readily fired, in a public place. Laws may or may not have changed, though.

  5. #5
    It?s covered by Section 19 of the Firearms Act:
    ?A person commits an offence if, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse (the proof whereof lies on him) he has with him in a public place a loaded shotgun or loaded air weapon, or any other firearm (whether loaded or not) together with ammunition suitable for use in that firearm.?

    So ? not loaded, no offence. In fact it doesn?t even have to be in a slip.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by geordieh View Post
    It?s covered by Section 19 of the Firearms Act:
    ?A person commits an offence if, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse (the proof whereof lies on him) he has with him in a public place a loaded shotgun or loaded air weapon, or any other firearm (whether loaded or not) together with ammunition suitable for use in that firearm.?

    So ? not loaded, no offence. In fact it doesn?t even have to be in a slip.
    That pretty much covers it. Go back half a century and it would be common to see someone who worked on the land carrying a shotgun around. These days we are all bred to believe that anyone who has a gun/rifle is the Devil's spawn and we must report it to the police who will descend like a horde of avenging angels with guns to check it out.

    So, subject to the conditions mentioned above, it is legal. Having said that, I would not advise sauntering up and down Regent Street with the Purdey over your elbow. Other factors could soon come into play there.

  7. #7
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    Yes. Twenty or so years ago I got stopped on Price Street in Birmingham carrying a uncased shot gun by a man in plain clothes. Who told me "That is illegal". I asked him who he was and he produced a police Warrant Card. I told him it was not illegal. He replied that it was. I told hom it wasn't. He told me again it was. So I told me if it is illegal then arrest me. Otherwise stop wasting my time as I had people to see and didn't want to spend any more time discussing this. Needless he didn't arrest me but went on his way.

  8. #8
    In 1963 at the age of thirteen I went off to school on the train with thirty shillings (1.50p a fortune to me) in my pocket. At lunch break I bought a bolt action .410 from another boy. My journey home involved a walk through Kings Lynn, a train journey then a bike ride, through all of which I carried the gun without a cover (I didn't possess one) and no one took any notice at all. Even the British Railways policeman didn't ask to see my ten shilling (50p) gun licence.

    It was just a non-event.

    Things have changed just a lot in my lifetime.
    A pessimist is an optimist with experience.

  9. #9
    When did times change?

    As a youngster I remember virtually every hardware shop selling shotgun cartridges, you could even buy them one or two at a time if you couldn't afford a whole box. Many hardware shops also sold the odd shotgun usually a Webley .410 bolt action or a Martini actioned GP or even a bolt action Baikal.

    My school mate who lived on a farm would often be seen wandering through his village when he was about 13 or 14 years of age with his fathers broken AYA over his arm on his way to shoot on land on the other side of the village. An older guy also told me of taking his uncased SMLE slung over his shoulder "up the mountain" to shoot foxes and on meeting the local bobby in the village him wishing my friend luck and a good days shooting.

    Cor - nostalgia ain't what it used to be!
    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by 8x57 View Post
    As a youngster I remember virtually every hardware shop selling shotgun cartridges, you could even buy them one or two at a time if you couldn't afford a whole box
    In the early 80's I used to buy 'GP Turbo' cartridges from Brydens Hardware shop in Biggar high street. They came loose at 10p each. No boxes, just a brown paper bag. I remember the bag split on the bus home once & 50 cartridges spilled everywhere. No one batted an eyelid, they just helped me retrieve them. I got all 50 back, too
    A Man should be wise, but never too wise. He who does not know his fate in advance is free of care

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