Want to hang onto them? Here's what you should AVOID doing.
1. Have an acrimonious split from a partner
According to Peter Glenser, QC and chairman of The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), more people are losing shotgun certificates or firearms certificates during divorce proceedings than under any other circumstances. The loss often follows an untrue allegation from a bitter ex. He continues: “It’s one person’s word against another and the police will err on the side of caution, take away your firearms and it may take a long time to get them back.”
It may be worth having your firearms stored by a registered firearms dealer in the interim so that you have any empty gun cabinet at home. In any case, if you are at all concerned, take some legal advice. If you are a member of a shooting organisation like BASC they will be able to advise you.
2. Misjudged use of social media
Back in 2015, a Scottish champion clayshooter lost his licence after posting a prank on Facebook holding a gun which was seen by police. “Shooters should also consider carefully what they put on social media” said Christopher Graffius of BASC. Posting without thinking is a good way to lose your shotgun certificate. So avoid it.
3. Fail to keep your ammunition locked up
Use a .22 rimfire? Go lamping? Make sure that you lock your ammunition up properly afterwards rather than leave it in the glove compartment of your 4×4. If the police see it they may give you a warning or they may think that if you can’t keep your ammo secure, you may not be able to keep your gun secure and remove your licence.
4. Lose your temper
Avoid having a scrap in the pub or getting involved in a road rage incident. If you come to the attention of the police they may consider you an unsuitable candidate for a shotgun or firearms certificate. Remember that as a responsible shooter it is your duty to do everything you can not to put shooting into disrepute.
Make sure you always shoot where you have permission, otherwise you can be charged with trespassing. If a landowner (who could be anti-shooting) reports you to the police you could find yourself arrested for armed trespass and minus your shotgun or firearms certificate.
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Home office guidance to the police suggests that if you are of “intemperate habits” you should not be trusted with a shotgun or firearm. Peter Glenser advised:
“I tried to find out what they meant by intemperate habits, and my local firearms enquiry officer said he thought anything over 30 units a week.
Drinking during a shoot day isn’t advisable either. The Licensing Act 1872 makes it an offence to be drunk in charge of a loaded gun. Furthermore if you are stopped for drunk driving on the way home and charged, you are not only a danger on the road, you could be looking at losing more than your driving licence.