WHAT TO DO IF TAKING SOMEONE ELSE OUT SHOOTING.
The Firearms Acts 1968-97 envisaged circumstances in which a certificate holder can lend someone else who does not hold a certificate his rifle or shotgun in a private arrangement, that is; outside of the wider exemptions applicable to clubs, theatrical purposes etc. The exemptions in the 1968 Act enabled ‘use’ at an approved clay shoot and anywhere private for game, pest or target shooting. The 1988 Act added the ‘estate rifle’ clause, enabling the loan of a rifle under supervision. These straight-forward provisions were amended by section 130 of the Policing and Crime Act 2017, which says:
11A Authorised lending and possession of firearms for hunting etc
(1) A person (“the borrower”) may, without holding a certificate under this Act, borrow a rifle or shot gun from another person on private premises (“the lender”) and have the rifle or shot gun in his or her possession on those premises if—
(a) the four conditions set out in subsections (2) to (5) are met, and
(b) in the case of a rifle, the borrower is aged 17 or over.
(2) The first condition is that the borrowing and possession of the rifle or shot gun are for either or both of the following purposes—
(a) hunting animals or shooting game or vermin;
(b) shooting at artificial targets.
(3) The second condition is that the lender—
(a) is aged 18 or over,
(b) holds a certificate under this Act in respect of the rifle or shot gun, and
(c) is either—
(i) a person who has a right to allow others to enter the premises for the purposes of hunting animals or shooting game or vermin, or
(ii) a person who is authorised in writing by a person mentioned in sub-paragraph (i) to lend the rifle or shot gun on the premises (whether generally or to persons specified in the authorisation who include the borrower).
(4) The third condition is that the borrower’s possession and use of the rifle or shot gun complies with any conditions as to those matters specified in the lender’s certificate under this Act.
(5) The fourth condition is that, during the period for which the rifle or shot gun is borrowed, the borrower is in the presence of the lender or—
(a) where a rifle is borrowed, a person who, although not the lender, is aged 18 or over, holds a certificate under this Act in respect of that rifle and is a person described in subsection (3) (c) (i) or (ii) ;
(b) where a shot gun is borrowed, a person who, although not the lender, is aged 18 or over, holds a certificate under this Act in respect of that shot gun or another shot gun and is a person described in subsection (3) (c) (i) or (ii) .
Which is a longwinded way of ‘explaining’ the exemptions and introducing some age limits. What was ‘use’ in the 1968 and 1988 Acts has been elevated to ‘possession’, which may impact on some people. The key points are that to let someone else use your rifle or shotgun on private property, you have to be over 18 and have a certificate for the rifle or shotgun. Your guest has to be over 17 if it’s a rifle. Another certificate holder can also act as supervisor as well as being able to use the gun via the exemption.
The other difference is the requirement to have that authority for using firearms on the premises to be in writing. To that end, the pro forma on this leaflet can be used.
So when the police helicopter lands to verify your authority to be there, it’s all on one page.
Bear in mind that where land is crossed by a public road, you can’t shoot from or in proximity to the carriageway while a road user is in sight and your shot, bullet or missile should not cross or fall on any public right of way or other private property (where you don't have written permission to shoot) at any time.