Points of law
QI was planning to travel to Scotland from London this season with a friend to shoot. I understand that Scotrail has banned the carriage of firearms on all its services. Is this true? If I carried, say, my friend’s barrels and he took the stocks and foreends in his suitcase would this change things?
AAt the time of writing, Scotrail has banned the carriage of firearms on its services. I understand someone absent-mindedly left a shotgun on a train and this has led to a review of its policy and a departure from the National rail Conditions of travel. the website says: “Unloaded firearms, properly licenced, with prior permission of the train Company and carried in accordance with the law and any other specific instructions are permitted.” As customers have not been complying with the National rail Conditions of travel by requesting prior permission, we have taken the position of not allowing the carriage of licensed firearms on our services.”
Caledonian Sleeper, which runs the sleeper service from London to Scotland, is however still welcoming “responsible customers” with licensed firearms. presumably that means everyone with a certificate. So if you are travelling with them there is no difficulty - although you must comply with the National Conditions which require you to obtain prior permission of the train Company and follow any other specific instructions.
It is very difficult to see how Scotrail will police the ban - it is not immediately obvious if shotguns are broken down and carried in regular luggage – although gun cases are rather more noticeable. Under no circumstances should the ban be flouted. Doing so may lead to the end of your journey and possibly awkwardness with the police. It is also an offence under the railway byelaws which could ultimately lead to your being fined and is therefore a threat to your certificate.
the second point you raise is a good one. Component parts of Section 2 firearms are not themselves firearms (unlike Section 1). So in the scenario you suggest neither of you would actually be in possession of a firearm – although you would have to make sure that remained the case – you could not look after the other’s bag if for example he or she popped along to the bar because you then would be in possession of both shotguns. It might be tedious having to explain this technicality if called upon to do so. perhaps you would be better sitting in different carriages – although that is not so convivial and a poor start to a shooting holiday.