Access to common land

1967spud Reloading Supplies Ltd - UK Suppliers for Reloading Equipment supplies, We also stock Bullet Heads and Bullet Cases Guns Cabinets, Night vision and much much more...

Erik Hamburger

Well-Known Member
One of my permissions consists of a block of woodland, connected by a small area of 'common' land through which a public road runs, to a block of pasture land. A third small area of woodland can be reached via the common land but without crossing a public road.
The landowner has made it clear that he has no shooting rights over the common land, however he believes it is OK to walk from one end of the farm to the other, crossing over the common land and crossing the public road, while carrying a rifle.

What is the position re. the 'common land' if I walk over it, is this than 'armed trespass' or not?

I am aware that one can only cross a public road if the rifle is unloaded and in the slip; and, btw, the common land is not grazed by anybody at all, it is a wilderness.

Thank you
 

Double four

Well-Known Member
I thought you had to be on the common rights register to do any activity or anything associated with it, I have some common rights in Norfolk and for me to be able to go down there or cross it with a gun I have to be registered with the council.
 

Labrat

Well-Known Member
Common land is land with a defined right of common over it, it is still almost always owned by someone. In theory you should/could ask the landowner if able to ascertain who it is, but more realistically if you are using it to access land that you have a right to shoot on, then you would have a defence of reasonableness against being accused of armed trespass.
 

achosenman

Well-Known Member
I am aware that one can only cross a public road if the rifle is unloaded and in the slip; and, btw, the common land is not grazed by anybody at all, it is a wilderness.

Thank you

That is wrong. The law states you must have a reasonable excuse to have a firearm in a public place. It does not need to be in a slip.

My beat is bisected by many public roads. I can cross the roads or walk down to the next gate etc. with my rifle out of its slip. (Unloaded) I will not be breaking the law. I have a reasonable excuse. I am out stalking and crossing a road to the next bit of land.

I checked this with the BASC firearms dept.

ATB
 
Last edited:

Erik Hamburger

Well-Known Member
That is wrong. The law states you must have a reasonable excuse to have a firearm in a public place. It does not need to be in a slip.

My beat is bisected by many public roads. I can cross the roads or walk down to the next gate etc. with my rifle out of its slip. (Unloaded) I will not be breaking the law. I have a reasonable excuse. I am out stalking and crossing a road to the next bit of land.

I checked this with the BASC firearms dept.

ATB

This is a great bit of advise - I wasn't aware of this, thank you!
I have other permissions where I can cross from one farm to another but have to cross a (minor) public road.
I have always done this, but making sure there was no traffic approaching from either way, but while doing so feeling I was potentially creating a problem for myself.
Thank you again!
 

achosenman

Well-Known Member
Not wanting to be awkward but I'm not sure I understand the logic behind that.

Having a firearm in a public place without reasonable excuse is just that. It will not matter whether the rifle is in a slip or not. i.e. take your 300 wonder mag clubbing on a Friday night, even in a slip and see how long you stay out of jail...;)

I'm not suggesting we should not be circumspect, but adding yet more restrictions to our activities over and above that required by law will in no way help us should we transgress...far better to understand and comply with the real requirements rather than add unnecessary procedures that offer no protection to us regarding the law. They only serve to hinder us as we go about our lawful business.

ATB
 

stalker.308

Well-Known Member
NB If you do not know who the landowner is for the common just go down to the land charges section of your local council and ask to see the commons register. The landowner will be listed on there.
 

Bandit Country

Well-Known Member
Slightly off topic but, wandering about the country highways with a rifle out of a slip is not a problem. Back in 2008 the first SD March & Shoot event was held in Shropshire when a mob of us replicated the CFT around the roads above Minsterley Range. Yes, West Mercia had been informed and were not at all concerned, yes we left bolts and ammunition in secure boxes at the range, but essentially 30+ men and women roamed the byways, ostensibly armed to the teeth, with no legal challenge, objection or arrests. I guess the devil is in the detail of 'reasonable excuse' - and raising cash for H4H is reasonable enough for most folk?
 

private fraser

Well-Known Member
.... i.e. take your 300 wonder mag clubbing on a Friday night, even in a slip and see how long you stay out of jail...;) ATB

​And what part of doing that would involve "reasonable excuse" which is one of the two legs you need to stand on legally ? :confused:.

To answer the original query...

You have lawful authority to possess ie fac.
You have reasonable excuse ie on way to shooting.
You have taken reasonable care ie the firearm is unloaded and in a cover.

Problem solved in a reasonable manner. ;)
 
Last edited:

Labrat

Well-Known Member
Point of order, however iirc you only need reasonable excuse if you have ammunition in your possession as well, S19 firearms act as amended, it's perfectly lawful to have a firearm in a public place unless you are committing another offence (trespass, intent to cause fear or distress etc)
 

achosenman

Well-Known Member
​And what part of doing that would involve "reasonable excuse" which is one of the two legs you need to stand on legally ? :confused:.

To answer the original query...

You have lawful authority to possess ie fac.
You have reasonable excuse ie on way to shooting.
You have taken reasonable care ie the firearm is unloaded and in a cover.

Problem solved in a reasonable manner. ;)

The answer is simple. Reductio ad absurum. I.e. I took you statement and reduced it to it's logical conclusion to demonstrate the flaw in you argument.

Again you have added another layer to the legal requirement. If the OP is out stalking on his patch and as in his original question he wanted to cross a small patch of common land or road etc to get to another area of his beat, then he can legally do so without the rifle being in a slip. If he has no reason to be where he is with his rifle , either in a slip or out, he will be in breach of the Fire Arms act 1968...simple. Reasonable manner will not come into it.

ATB
 

stalker.308

Well-Known Member
If the OP is out stalking on his patch and as in his original question he wanted to cross a small patch of common land or road etc to get to another area of his beat, then he can legally do so without the rifle being in a slip. ATB

Unfortunately by reducing the statement this time came out wth the wrong answer, you cannot cross the common land with rifle in slip or otherwise without the permission of the owner of the common, just like any other piece of land you cannot go on it without permission.
 

achosenman

Well-Known Member
Unfortunately by reducing the statement this time came out wth the wrong answer, you cannot cross the common land with rifle in slip or otherwise without the permission of the owner of the common, just like any other piece of land you cannot go on it without permission.

I thought that was a reasonable counterpoint and I realised I might not have mentioned "Common land" when I spoke to BASC firearms dept. So I have just rang them and asked about common land.

The answer is you can cross common land with your rifle as you can a road etc.


ATB
 

enfieldspares

Well-Known Member
A think a lot of the "must be in a slip" confusion arose, historically, because of mis-reading the legislation.

In particular confusing the law in relation to AIR RIFLES IN A PUBLIC PLACE AND s22(5) IN THAT PERSONS UNDER SEVENTEEN COMMIT NO OFFENCE UNDER THAT SECTION IF THE AIR RIFLE IS COVERED with that relating to FIREARMS AND SHOT GUNS IN A PUBLIC PLACE.
 

private fraser

Well-Known Member
Reductio ad absurum. I.e. I took you statement and reduced it to it's logical conclusion to demonstrate the flaw in you argument.
ATB

I did that too and came up with...

It must be ok to walk down your High Street to the gunsmiths carrying a rifle or shotgun not in a slip to get it repaired or sell it etc. as a) you have lawful authority, b) you have reasonable excuse and c) you don't want to add another unnecessary layer.
I wouldn't recommend it though.

I think the police etc. would like us to behave reasonably even if it is not strictly required by law. The key word here is reasonably. It's not appeasement or adding another layer etc. it's just reasonable.
Confrontation or challenge is best avoided as come renewal time what the feo tends to like to have heard about you is nothing.
If that means putting my gun in a slip when in a public place then that's ok by me.
 

long_range_rob

Well-Known Member
I did that too and came up with...

It must be ok to walk down your High Street to the gunsmiths carrying a rifle or shotgun not in a slip to get it repaired or sell it etc. as a) you have lawful authority, b) you have reasonable excuse and c) you don't want to add another unnecessary layer.
I wouldn't recommend it though.

I think the police etc. would like us to behave reasonably even if it is not strictly required by law. The key word here is reasonably. It's not appeasement or adding another layer etc. it's just reasonable.
Confrontation or challenge is best avoided as come renewal time what the feo tends to like to have heard about you is nothing.
If that means putting my gun in a slip when in a public place then that's ok by me.

​I have a mate with a gunshop on a high street and he gets a few old boys every year float in with their side by side for a service and not a slip in sight. I wouldn't try it myself though.
 

achosenman

Well-Known Member
I did that too and came up with...

It must be ok to walk down your High Street to the gunsmiths carrying a rifle or shotgun not in a slip to get it repaired or sell it etc. as a) you have lawful authority, b) you have reasonable excuse and c) you don't want to add another unnecessary layer.
I wouldn't recommend it though.

I think the police etc. would like us to behave reasonably even if it is not strictly required by law. The key word here is reasonably. It's not appeasement or adding another layer etc. it's just reasonable.
Confrontation or challenge is best avoided as come renewal time what the feo tends to like to have heard about you is nothing.
If that means putting my gun in a slip when in a public place then that's ok by me.

Unfortunately no, that may have been your intention but you got the detail wrong...good try though. :)

In the op's situation, the rifle is "in use" that does not mean being fired BTW. In your argument it is being transported...entirely different. You are correct you have legal authority to posses, you have the rifle with you for reasons connected with its use, all good so far, but it is not reasonable to walk down the high street with it out of a slip. I'm not sure, but actions causing fear and alarm is breach of the piece. Any reasonable person would know that this would be the likely result of your proposed action and therefore your defence would fail.

The op was quite specific in his question and I have given the legal view supplied to me. I have also supplied the provenance of that advice. I have not given my opinion since it is just that...an opinion and as such, carries no weight with the law. I do not intend getting into a pointless debate over personal opinions urban myth etc. The only thing that matters is the law in this instance.

I have no problem with anyone disagreeing with the advice I have been given, but might I suggest a better course of action would be to take it up with the BASC Firearms dept over the Phone 01244 573010


ATB
 

private fraser

Well-Known Member
The answer is simple. Reductio ad absurum. I.e. I took you statement and reduced it to it's logical conclusion to demonstrate the flaw in you argument. ATB
Unfortunately no, that may have been your intention but you got the detail wrong...good try though. :) ATB

Looks like I failed my Harry Potter spell casting exam then :).

I will leave it up to the opening poster which course of action to take.

I'm sure he will take what action he thinks will best safeguard his liberty and his fac.

fraser
 
Last edited:

JTO

Well-Known Member
It used to be that only people under the age of 17 years had to have a firearm/shotgun 'secured so that it cannot readily be fired', when in a public place. Things may have changed, though.
 
UK Outfitters
Top