So what do you say when a friend says: "Can I borrow your gun?"


Q: When a person lends a shotgun to a non-certificate holder on 
a private shoot, must the gun be 
on their certificate?

Loans of shotguns and gun lending on private premises is now regulated by 
the Policing and Crime Act 2017. Section 130 of the act merely states: “A person (‘the borrower’) may, without holding 
a certificate under this act, borrow a rifle or shotgun from another person on private premises…” (my emphasis). Therefore the law permits the borrowing of any shotgun, whether or not it appears on the lender’s certificate.

Since the law permits a shotgun certificate holder to borrow a shotgun for up to 72 hours without the gun 
being shown on his certificate, it follows that a shotgun temporarily borrowed in this way by a certificate holder may then be lent by him to a non-certificate holder on private premises.

72 hour rule

For example, a father may borrow his friend’s 20-bore and allow his son 
to use it to shoot on private land. He must, of course, be present with his son while the gun is being used, and he must either have authority to allow others to shoot over the land or be authorised in writing to lend the gun 
by someone who does, such as the 
shoot owner, tenant or manager. He must return the gun to its owner within 72 hours.

Q: If I accompany a friend who hasn’t yet got his shotgun certificate to a clayshooting club and lend him my gun, am I within the law?

A: Section 11(6) of the Firearms Act 1968 states that a person may, without holding a shotgun certificate, use a shotgun at a time and place approved for shooting at artificial targets by the chief officer of police for the area in which that place is situated. In order for your friend to benefit from this exemption, you must first establish that the clayshooting club has been granted a S11(6) approval by the local police and that the approval is current.

Most substantial clayshooting grounds will hold police approval, while approval is often also sought and obtained by estates or other properties intending to run game or country fairs or corporate clay shoots.

I recommend that you check with the shooting ground beforehand that it holds police approval for gun lending to non-certificate holders under S11(6). If it does, it is lawful for you to lend a shotgun there. Clearly, you should also check with the ground to make sure it is happy for you to lend a gun to your friend.

As a point of interest, there is no requirement in law for you to accompany or supervise your friend while he is using your shotgun within the terms of S11(6), though of course it is strongly recommended that an inexpe