Unlawful Access

tartinjock

Distinguished Member
#1
I had this question put to me and was unable to answer, hopefully Swampy might know the correct one, but just to make people aware of a possible problem.


You and one other (Not an FAC Holder) go stalking, you have your 2 rifles in HIS car (Hatchback), your friend was using your 2nd rifle, (Estate rifle clause). Anyway, he stops at a shop and you go in, your friend now has access to both of your rifles and ammunition, bolts are in a bag in the car and not fitted but still accessable. Police come along and ask to look in the car.

Oppppsss.

Where would he stand?

TJ
 

auquhollie

Well-Known Member
#3
Iwould imagine you would both be in the preverbal doo doo !!!

He would be classed as in possession of a firearm and ammunition that he is not supposed to have surely. Hypothetically that is :lol:

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Nix Niveus

Well-Known Member
#5
I read that to count as being under your supervison someone needs to be within sight and earshot.

If you could see and hear him from the shop and vice versa you'd be OK.

You could say they were locked away safely - but as you wouldn't have bolt and ammo with you (condition of leaving guns unattended) that wouldn't wash, the supervision clause would be a better way to go.

A million people must stop for fuel on their way to shoot and leave guns and friends in the car.
 

Rangefinder

Well-Known Member
#6
Nix Niveus said:
I read that to count as being under your supervison someone needs to be within sight and earshot.

If you could see and hear him from the shop and vice versa you'd be OK.

You could say they were locked away safely - but as you wouldn't have bolt and ammo with you (condition of leaving guns unattended) that wouldn't wash, the supervision clause would be a better way to go.

A million people must stop for fuel on their way to shoot and leave guns and friends in the car.
Supervision usually refers or can be implied when the firearm in question is in use.

Unless the firearms were secured in a gunsafe in the vehicle and bolted to the chassis or secured with a suitable wire type device that is secured to the chassis or subframe then the firearms are not securely locked away.

There is no legal requirement from the firearms act I have read that states you must have the bolt and ammunition about your person if you leave the vehicle unattended when travelling or as a condition on a FAC. It is however common sense to keep ammunition seperate from the firearm e.g. under the seat if the firearms are in the boot or vice versa. Likewise it is common sense to carry the bolt or hide it in another part of the vehicle. To carry a firearm with the bolt in can render the firearm to the authorities as being loaded and hence an offence. Bill Harriman wrote an article on it if I recall some years ago now.
 

8x57

Distinguished Member
#9
Playing "devil's advocate" I would suggest to take advantage of the "Estate Rifle Rule" one has to be under the control of the FAC holder. It would be my understanding of this to mean sufficiently close to physically intervene if necessary and not just to be within sight and earshot. I take this view from an interpretation given in another guidance document not relating to firearms, but think that possibly the beak may also take the same view. Unfortunately this is probably a matter that could only realy be decided by the courts.
If we go back to the original question and the two rifles in the hatchback, was it the intention that the FAC holder would use one rifle and the guest the other? You could hardly control the actions of a non-FAC holder, if you were busy looking through the scope of your own rifle some distance away!
We all have to demonstrate due dilligence with regard to firearms laws and security. The safest solution as I see it is to make some kind of security arrangement in your vehicle such as a cabinet or security cable, remove the bolt if possible and keep it on your person and secure any spare ammo elsewhere. Merely "hiding" it under the seat won't wash with the man in a wig. Yes some of these things aren't written directly into the firearms act, but I am fairly sure that the prosecution will produce the various guidance documents in court to make his case.
 

Rangefinder

Well-Known Member
#10
8x57 said:
Merely "hiding" it under the seat won't wash with the man in a wig. Yes some of these things aren't written directly into the firearms act, but I am fairly sure that the prosecution will produce the various guidance documents in court to make his case.
The Firearms Act does not mention a particular standard of security when travelling as it is common sense not to do so. The legislators acknowledge that most, if not all individuals must transport their firearms in vehicles for the simple reason [and fact] that we do not have our available land on which to practice our sport at the end of the gate from our house.

There is case law on this topic, mostly from vehicle theft with firearms/shotguns in the vehicle and CC revoking tickets and having to reinstate them on appeal.

Taking reasonable steps [given a vehicle is a small enclosed environment] such as "hiding" compnents or ammunition in various parts of the vehicle is acceptable in law and does satisfy the man in the wig.

Otherwise we would all have to either, surrender our firearms/shotguns because it would be illegal to transport them or the law would make provision for us to be required to fit gunsafes etc to our vehicles which it currently does not.


The Home Office Guide to Firearms Law is exactly what it says on the cover, guidance. It is not on the statue books and so is not law.
 

JAYB

Administrator
Site Staff
#11
What you have to consider is the law takes the view that a reasonable man would take. Now if you had stopped at the shop, locked your car and gone into the shop, what you have done is what any reasonable person would have done? By leaving your friend in the car a reasonable man may well construe this as being better than leaving the weapons unattended.

You can if you wish dissect the firearms act and dive really deeply into the semantics of it all, but the fact remains. The law takes the view that if the actions taken are those of a reasonable man, then all is well.

Having said that it all depends on the circumstances surrounding each case, if your friend has convictions for violence, armed robbery etc then it may well be considered unreasonable to leave him in the vehicle with the guns. If it is a high crime area, and you know it to be so, then it might be considered unreasonable to leave the guns in the car even if locked. It all depends upon the circumstances surrounding the event. Even then when the Police have gathered the evidence it is out before the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and they, not the Police, put the matter before a court. Even then they want a 60%, I think that is correct, chance of a prosecution before taking a case to court.

I think the Estate Rifle clause is completely irrelevant here.

John
 

Rangefinder

Well-Known Member
#12
John

60% is I believe, correct.

The "reasonable man" test was created in another case but I do agree "what is reasonable in the circumstances" is indeed a consideration the court will consider and as you say, the weight of that will depend upon the circumstances in each case. The question will also shape legislation.

In the event the "semantics" issue you speak of was directed at me all I can say is I will stick to the facts of the Act(s) in question and will not digress into personal opinion or interpretation or belief of what I should think it should say as can often be the case in these topics.

RF
 

JAYB

Administrator
Site Staff
#13
RF,

I was not directing the semantics thing at you I was just trying, clumsily, to illustrate the point that each case depends upon the circumstances surrounding it, not everything is black and white.

The way legislation is drafted the way it is, is quite difficult. it has to be written so that lawful members of the public going about their business have no fear of redress, but it also has to encompass all criminal intent and actions. However within this framework of an all encompassing act there has to be flexibility in order for innocent people to be able to demonstrate their innocence enabling the law to work correctly. I think :eek:

John
 

Rangefinder

Well-Known Member
#16
As if by magic, good old Bill Harriman has written an article about firearms and transportation in this weeks edition of Shooting Times. It is primarily relating to shotguns but the principles are the same.
 
#17
legal issues

The bolts for all my rifles are worn on my belt, under my outerwear, ALWAYS, whenever I go shooting, they are never left in the rifles as the people over the pond tend to do, So any of my rifles are essentially useless to anyone who would wish to take them, ammunition is either in my pockets, or locked in a separate ex military can bolted to the chassis of the motor. :)
 

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