Travelling safely with a gun
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What are the rules for travelling with a shotgun? How do I ensure I remain within the law when travelling to shoots with my gun? Nick Playford replies
Q: I’ve been invited to a shoot over 200 miles away. What are the general rules for travelling with a shotgun?
NICK PLAYFORD of mfg Solicitors replies: Condition 4(a) of your shotgun licence states: “The shotgun to which the certificate relates must at all times be stored securely so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, access to the firearms or ammunition by an unauthorised person.”
Condition 4(b) goes on to state that: “Reasonable precautions must be taken for the safe custody of the firearm or the ammunition including the use and transit of the shotgun.”
To comply, my advice is that it is best to avoid travelling long distances with your shotgun. If you do have to, it goes without saying that the gun should always be in a discrete gun case, ideally in another bag and broken down into its component parts (as opposed to being in a slip) .
Ideally, the fore-end should be removed and stored separately to the remainder of the gun, having cocked and fired the gun (in private and before setting off) with a pair of snap caps (purpose-built blank cartridges). This should render the gun safe but it is vital not to forget your fore-end when heading off the next day, as one often hears stories of well-meaning but crestfallen individuals who have locked their fore-end in their car glove box and are unable to retrieve it once the shoot has commenced.
Your ammunition should be kept separately, and your licence must be with you at all times.
When it comes to overnight stays, make sure you plan ahead. Stay with friends who have their own licences and can store your gun safely with their own (and the legislation and guidance allow the loan of your gun in such circumstances for an overnight stay). Alternatively, there are a number of hotels that offer secure gun cabinets, and these can generally be found through a simple internet search, followed up by a telephone call to verify that their procedures haven’t changed. Some of these hotels are also more than happy for gundogs to stay too. Often, you will want to leave early the next day and you should ensure that the retrieval of your gun is a smooth process.
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Both BASC and the Home Office have published their own advice, which are definitely worth reviewing.
Finally, and importantly, it is vital that any shoot adheres to all current government regulations relating to lockdown including, if necessary, total annulment. The shoot should comply with all social distancing rules and guidance set out by the government. There will be challenges that go with that such as transportation, accommodation and, often one of the highlights of any shooting day, the shoot meals.