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Thread: Complaint about shooting from member of public

  1. #1

    Complaint about shooting from member of public

    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


  2. #2
    In other words he may be saying to stay away from that particular area till it alll blows over?
    Maybe it was multiple shots that alarmed the public?
    Though you may have been completely legal and i think you`re FEO has seen it that way not every member of the public is so forgiving.
    https://www.justgiving.com/John-Slee/
    "He who kills sow with piglets empties the forest of boar" My neighbours dad on new years eve 2011.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by basil View Post
    In other words he may be saying to stay away from that particular area till it alll blows over?
    Maybe it was multiple shots that alarmed the public?
    Though you may have been completely legal and i think you`re FEO has seen it that way not every member of the public is so forgiving.
    I hope so, hats off to my FEO i know he is a stand up guy. He was really straight with me on the phone and said that they do get silly complaints from the public who dont always understand shooting regularly and on most of the points hed set the officer straight. Its just shooting near the road he was concerned about, he said that he would probably have to come and have a look at the land with the officer and possibly me to identifty if i was being dangerous
    Last edited by Evillemon; 25-05-2013 at 21:18.

  4. #4
    Bottom line is you can no more prove you were not too close, and they cannot prove you were too close.
    Keep a low profile as far as multiple shots at targets go for a while, but don't worry over much.

    Neil.

  5. #5
    Hi Evillemon

    Firstly i say stop worrying what will happen will happen. I have been in your situation twice while shooting Decoying Pigeons in the day and while lamping at night. As long as you have permission and were on the land you have permission then no real problem. You stated that you were minimum 50 ft from the road that is good as you only need to be 50ft from the centreline of the road. The only advice i would give you is if you shoot near a footpath and you see a member of the public traversing the path STOP SHOOTING UNTILTHEY ARE OUT OF SIGHT THEN RECOMMENCE. My self personally would also return my rifle/gun to its slip. I am supprised at BASC not being any help are you a member of the NGO if so give their firearms officer a ring he will advise you and ease your mind and assist you. Hope this helps.

    Jimbo
    Last edited by Jimbo 30 06; 25-05-2013 at 21:17.

  6. #6
    Thanks lads i really appreciate the replies, as the Mrs keeps saying im sure it will all blow over and everything will be fine. I dont think you realise how vulnerable we are as shooters truely until something like this pops up - new experiance to me and one i am, very keen never to repeat, needless to say after this is done i will be even more super double careful with everything

  7. #7
    Section 161 of the Highways Act 1980 makes it an offence without lawful authority or excuse to discharge any firearm within 50 feet of the centre of the highway and in consequence of which a user of the highway is injured, interupted or endangered.

    it doesnt sound like youve been reported for an offence, just given some advice by the FEO

    It happens more and more, someone phones the Police, as soon as a gun is mentioned its usually the full monty response.
    most members of the public are brainwashed into a state of sheer horror of guns and will phone the Police
    because of that or because theyre just "antis"

    best avoid these confrontations by using discretion and keeping a low profile especially when in sight of members of the public
    best to stop shooting if walkers horse riders are using a nearby footpath or bridleway

    target shooting or plinking again will bring a response unless its on an authorised range,
    if you want to chance your arm carry on, but I would avoid risking another complaint
    and yes theres always potential for disaster



  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by badbob View Post
    target shooting or plinking again will bring a response unless its on an authorised range,
    if you want to chance your arm carry on, but I would avoid risking another complaint
    and yes theres always potential for disaster
    Bad advice. You are doing nothing wrong, carry on.

    I do tend to stop shooting if I see a person, but no need to slip the gun. I frequently walk out my front door with a rifle over my shoulder. Frequently encounter walkers.

    Lets not make this any harder than we need to.

    Section 161 of the Highways Act 1980 (England & Wales) makes it an offence to discharge a firearm within 50 ft of the centre of a highway with vehicular rights without lawful authority or excuse, if as a result a user of the highway is injured, interrupted or endangered.

  9. #9
    Carry on, but think how you may feel if you new nothing about shooting and meet a man with a gun, I shoot a lot on areas of public access, and found ringing in to the police before going, can solve a lot of problems. And I always unload ad say hello to walkers, most are fine, I had one regular who would ring the police all the time, he ended up with a caution for wasting police time.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Apache View Post
    Bad advice. You are doing nothing wrong, carry on.

    I do tend to stop shooting if I see a person, but no need to slip the gun. I frequently walk out my front door with a rifle over my shoulder. Frequently encounter walkers.

    Lets not make this any harder than we need to.
    +1

    its a crying shame that this sort of complaint ever occurs, I am sorry to hear that you should have to go through this.

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