Law on land cov­ered by water

Shooting Times & Country Magazine - - CONTENTS -

I was talk­ing to a punt-gun­ning friend re­cently about the floods in Glouces­ter­shire 10 years ago. He claimed that when rivers burst their banks he can punt over the fields and shoot, re­gard­less of whether he has per­mis­sion from the owner of the flooded land or not. His ar­gu­ment is that he is on top of the water, not on the land, and there­fore still on the river. As this does not seem right to me, could you give me the cor­rect an­swer?

Your friend is en­tirely wrong be­cause Sec­tion 20 (Tres­pass­ing with a firearm) of the Firearms Act 1968 makes it clear that in re­fer­ring to “land”, this word in­cludes land cov­ered by water. Armed tres­pass is a se­ri­ous mat­ter and any­one who com­mits such an of­fence risks a sub­stan­tial fine, pri­son or both. There is the de­fence of “rea­son­able ex­cuse”, but the proof falls on the per­son who is so ac­cused to prove what he did was rea­son­able. This de­fence is de­signed to ac­com­mo­date some­one who has made a gen­uine mis­take, such as stray­ing on to land where he should not be. It will not work for some­body who de­lib­er­ately goes over flooded land in a boat to shoot where he pleases.

Tell your punt-gun­ning friend that he is wrong and is in dan­ger of com­mit­ting a very se­ri­ous of­fence if he per­sists with this ridicu­lous no­tion. BH SHOOT­ING TIMES & COUN­TRY MAG­A­ZINE • 57

The firearms act 1968 states that “land” in­cludes land cov­ered by water

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