Borrowing a gun
Overall the Policing and Crime Act does make the loan and borrowing of a rifle or shotgun less restrictive, but I can foresee some teething troubles with the paperwork aspect
ew legislation relating to the borrowing of rifles and shotguns, for use on private premises by people without a certificate, came into force on 2 May, as part of the Policing and Crime Act. Although the legal wording is a bit convoluted, and paperwork has crept in, the overall effect is simpler than the old law and applies to rifles and shotguns throughout Great Britain.
Firstly, there are some age limits. The lender must be aged 18 or over and, in the case of a rifle, the borrower must be aged 17 or over. There is no age limit for borrowing a shotgun. This perpetuates the anomaly whereby you can get a firearm certificate at 14 then borrow or be given a rifle and use it unsupervised, but you need to be 17 to borrow one and use it in the presence of the lender.
A gun may only be loaned/borrowed on private premises and for specific purposes. These are hunting animals or shooting game or vermin and/or shooting at artificial targets. Wildfowl are not mentioned here, but the dictionary defines game as wild animals and birds hunted for food and sport, so includes wildfowl. Artificial targets includes clays and the paper targets customarily used on a range. Private premises means land to which the public do not have access other than with permission of the landowner or tenant. Some parts of the foreshore may be private premises, but much of it is not. Wildfowling clubs should check their leases before allowing the loan of shotguns.
The new law requires that the lender no longer has to be the occupier, but must be a person who has the right to allow others to enter the premises for the purpose of hunting animals or shooting game or vermin. This would usually be the landowner or the shooting tenant, but other persons may have such a right.
Alternatively the lender may be someone who is authorised in writing by the person who has the rights of permitting entry. In other words you can borrow a gun from someone else, such as another person on the shoot, provided they have prior written authority to lend. In all cases the lender must have a certificate in respect of the