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Thread: Land Inspections

  1. #1

    Land Inspections

    After scrolling around in this section of the forum I'm surprised at how many instances there seem to be of conditions on FACs limiting the calibre to be used over named land.

    Of course it's a nonsense that any area should be thought to have a calibre limit imposed on it - if I were an open cert holder I could shoot on land that had only been 'authorised' for .22RF for another shooter provided I had permission, so where's the reasoning behind it?

    I'd be very interested to hear if anyone has any information about the criteria police land inspections are based on and the qualifications held by those undertaking them. Is it the ordinary FLOs that do the inspections in your area or is there an 'UberFLO' who is qualified in field range work and knows the implications of using various calibres in different terrain? Has anyone challenged a land inspection and/or asked for the reasoning behind the decision in writing? Has anyone had the FL dept back down on an inspection condition when challenged?

    If land/calibre restrictions are commonplace it looks like something that should be pursued by the shooting organisations.

  2. #2
    I would be able to comment on your post Orion, but my crystal ball (the one with all the criteria info & stuff in it) seems to have rolled out of reach under the filing cabinet behind the tea urn.

  3. #3
    I thought that might be the case - policy on the hoof yet again.

    This particular area seems ripe for challenges if the backup is available.

  4. #4
    If your were an open FAC holder, then that would prove your trust worthy and safe, and hopefully you wouldn't go around shooting unsafely. So thats why you can decide with to use your .22 or .308. The vast majority of land has already been checked, so its only expected to be a few cases where police actually need to get on the ground.

    If an FEO cant decide on the ground then they can/will talk to local farmers, gamekeepers, and groups like the BASC to get there advice.

    I get the impression most people think they should be let lose with a full bore rifle anywhere they wish with no experience with there 1st FAC, is that the case?

    Regulation is a pain in the butt definitely. Fortunately its there to stop the nutters out there who left unchecked would go and get the biggest rifle out there and start shooting foxes in the urban housing estate gardens and spoil it for all of us.

    Yes you can appeal, and you can get anything in writing you wish.

    John

  5. #5
    John, regulation is a valuable part of life, It's just a real shame that some people like to run away with the idea that it is all there is! & in a worst case scenario, the regulating individual that you draw turns out to be a real numpty!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by purdeydog
    If your were an open FAC holder, then that would prove your trust worthy and safe, and hopefully you wouldn't go around shooting unsafely. So thats why you can decide with to use your .22 or .308.
    John, the way I see it is that the whole contradiction in it lies right there. If A N Other is a person deemed to be suitable to have any potentially lethal firearm in his possession then isn't he by implication to be trusted where to use it? Any decision regarding suitability should be based on the person not the firearm surely? If it is accepted that an open FAC is granted at the first renewal provided you've been a good boy - note, no check or interest in how your level of safety or experience has improved, (you might not have fired a single round in the 5 years!) - then doesn't it makes a mockery of the whole system?

    The vast majority of land has already been checked, so its only expected to be a few cases where police actually need to get on the ground.
    Has it? Do you have any data on that - I would say the opposite might be true.

    If an FEO cant decide on the ground then they can/will talk to local farmers, gamekeepers, and groups like the BASC to get there advice.
    Why should local farmers and gamekeepers be consulted, neither occupation would qualify you to offer a valid opinion - plus they might not want someone shooting ANY calibre on a certain piece of land. BASC might be interested but what if the applicant wasn't a member, or if he was a member of another shooting organisation? Would he rightly call foul if the decision was influenced against him? It could open a can of worms.

    I get the impression most people think they should be let lose with a full bore rifle anywhere they wish with no experience with there 1st FAC, is that the case?
    There might be some that think and act like that but shouldn't they be weeded out at the application stage? I don't think it would apply to the majority though.

    Regulation is a pain in the butt definitely. Fortunately its there to stop the nutters out there who left unchecked would go and get the biggest rifle out there and start shooting foxes in the urban housing estate gardens and spoil it for all of us.
    I agree that regulation is sometimes neccessary but over-regulation in a piecemeal fashion is no way to go, and that appears to be the situation with calibre restrictions.

    There is no uniform interpretation of the Firearms Acts - it all comes down to what local policies are exercised by the individual constabularies, and the imposition of land inspections and calibre restrictions appears to be one of the more bizarre examples of 'not joined up thinking'.

    If there is any doubt about novice shooters suitability/experience then why hasn't there been serious lobbying to get a national practical firearms safety scheme or hunter's certification, (and I don't mean classroom based like DSC1), or something similar up and running?

    In case anyone feels that the current system is okay, think about what might happen if an open FAC holder, through no fault of his own, was accused of an infringment of the FAs or, god forbid, involved in an accident whilst using, say a .308, on land that the local FEO decided was only cleared for a .22. I'll hazard a guess that the CPS and police could make him very uncomfortable at the very least.

  7. #7
    Some good responses here but no-one has made the point that land in never inherenty safe or unsafe. I could safely shoot a deer with my 7mm Rem Mag in a busy Tescos car park as long at the one and only shrubbery with the sleeper walls is behind it. Equally, I could take a skyline shot at a roe in the highlands with a .222 Rem, miss it and kill a solitary hillwalker a mile away on another hill. I'm afraid that it is all just another example of the fiasco that we call Firearms Administration in the UK. I don't have an answer but there are certainly plenty of questions. JC

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by JC275
    Some good responses here but no-one has made the point that land in never inherenty safe or unsafe.
    I think you just did!

    Good point, which along with the examples you've given underline the fact that it's down to the FAC holder not the firearm.

  9. #9
    The home office guidance is fairly clear in that it specifies that land inspections are part of the system of establishing "Good Reason" to possess a particular firearm and goes on to state that land is neither safe or unsafe, that responsibility for safety lies with the shooter and a decision to refuse approval on the grounds of public safety shall not be made by the police officer making the assessment but by persons experienced in the field use of firearms.

    It also states that the shooter should be invited along to the land inspection and the opinions of experienced local shooters, stalkers and gamekeepers etc should be sought before any final decisions are made.

    If you have been refused land for a particular calibre but can see no safety issues and you can prove "Good Reason" then clearly you have a excellant case for appeal

  10. #10
    In my experience, the better FEOs are perfectly well aware that it is not the land, but the FAC-holder's safety which is the main thing.

    As such, the territorial restrictions can be justified (insofar as they can be justified at all) in terms of being a device to allow FEOs to visit some land with novice FAC-holders to discuss safe shooting in the shooting environment iteself. Having a data-base of 'cleared land' of course completely negates the usefulness of this approach, reducing what might be a useful one-off field-assessment of a novice FAC-holder, or new applicant, by a competent FEO to a futile box-ticking exercise.


    I've not managed to work out why this can't be done before grant of FAC in the overwhelming majority of cases, though.

    In my view, used moderately it is certainly a less malign type of condition compared to the bizarre and outrageous 'mentoring' beloved of certain forces.

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