My gun is always in its slip and over my shoulder but nevertheless I still get some rather interesting looks.
With the number of people in the streets around the centre I am waiting for the first person to call the police, worried that someone is wandering the streets with a gun.
What does the law state regarding either walking or cycling to a shoot as opposed to driving, and how could it affect me?
CARRYING A SHOTGUN IN PUBLIC
Not that long ago I found myself walking down Oxford Street having had lunch with an old friend. I’d lent him a shotgun a couple of days before, but hadn’t had time to catch up properly so this was a chance to kill two birds with one stone.
As I walked westwards after lunch I was firmly, but politely, taken by the arm by a man in plain clothes, who discreetly flashed a warrant card at me.
He wanted to know what was in my gunslip and to see my certificate.
I told him that it was a shotgun and that I had a certificate, which I would gladly show him but unfortunately it was in the slip with the gun.
He thanked me and wished me good day without any further fuss at all. I was probably lucky in that the officer knew the law.
There is no offence in having a shotgun with you in a public place.
It’s covered by Section 19 of the Firearms Act:
“A person commits an offence if, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse (the proof whereof lies on him) he has with him in a public place a loaded shotgun or loaded air weapon, or any other firearm (whether loaded or not) together with ammunition suitable for use in that firearm”
So, not loaded, no offence. In fact it doesn’t even have to be in a slip.
There are two things that you might be able to do to ensure that your sporting afternoons remain undisturbed, though.
Firstly, does it really need to be carried in a gun slip?
Break it down, wrap the parts in something to protect them and put them into a rucksack, along with the slip if you like, and no one will be any the wiser. (Bill Harrisman, our legal expert says it’s a good idea to never carry a gun in public in a gun-shaped case – it only attracts attention.)
Secondly, if you must cycle with a slipped gun it might be a good idea to telephone the force control room in advance and tell them what you are doing and when.