A reader wonders what happens when he's having lunch in the pub

Q: I belong to a travelling syndicate and we frequently find ourselves taking lunch in a local pub. What is the legal situation concerning leaving guns in cars and ammunition while we are having lunch?

A: Whilst it is acceptable for guns to be left in locked cars for short periods, it is essential for the vehicles to be parked where they can be seen at all times. Guns and ammunition should also be concealed. Leaving guns in cars that are unlocked, even if only for a few minutes, should never happen as thieves can strike at any time.

shotgun in car

Transporting your gun shouldn’t be a problem providing you take the standard precautions

However, some country inns, especially if sited in game shooting regions, may be prepared to accept sleeved guns while their owners dine. They will not, however, allow ammunition on the premises so this must be concealed in locked vehicles. If you are staying overnight in a hotel or pub, again guns and ammunition must be kept in a locked secure cabinet or place. It is also essential that the fore-end or bolt is removed and retained on your person. Some hotels and inns in shooting regions might have secure gun cabinets. 

Government advice on leaving guns in cars

The Home Office has issued some helpful guidance about leaving guns in cars: Any guns should be hidden, preferably in the locked boot or other secured load carrying area of the vehicle where practicable. If the vehicle is left unattended for any reason, firearms should be concealed, preferably in the locked luggage compartment and (where practicable), an essential component such as the bolt or fore-end removed and kept in possession of the responsible person. Where possible, any ammunition should be stored separately from the firearm and this too should be concealed from view. The vehicle should be locked, and any immobiliser or alarm should be set. If possible, the vehicle should be parked within the sight of the responsible person.

  • The theft of a shotgun is a grave matter, and the police will always view it as a very serious incident.
  • If there has been any negligence or recklessness on your part, then your certificate will be revoked and you may be prosecuted as well.
  • The loss of a gun is not just a personal catastrophe; it is also a PR disaster for the sport.