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When you need written authority for gun loans

Two questions on gun law from landowners. One wants to know about giving written permission to visiting shooters lending guns and the other wants to know about shooting wild boar on his land.

shooting tweeds

Q: I have noted with pleasure recent changes in the law over borrowing shotguns. I allow a local pigeon shooter to shoot over my farm, and he would like to bring his 16-year-old son with him and lend him his gun for use under supervision. I am quite happy with this, but see that I need to provide him with written authority to lend his gun to another person. Do you have any advice on what form that written authority should take?

A: It is expected that Home Office guidance will be updated later this year to take account of recent changes in the law, and that this will in due course offer firm advice on this matter. Meanwhile, I suggest that you write a note stating that, as the landowner, you authorise by name the local shooter to lend his shotgun to other persons on your land. The authority may be for the shooter to lend the gun specifically to his son  – or to other persons generally. Sign and date the note and give it to him.

Given that formal notification to the police over such matters as transfers of guns may be made electronically, it is greatly to be hoped that an email will be equally as acceptable as a written note but for the time being we await clarification on this point. (Graham Downing).

lock, stock and barrel on shotgun

Gun lending rules

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

Wild boar shooting

Q: We are starting to see evidence of pigs rooting around – presumably the work of wild boar – on land where I have some deer stalking. The landowner has asked me to shoot any I see, but does the Law allow me to do so?

A: If, when you finally see the miscreants, they turn out to be Large Whites or Gloucester Old Spots or Tamworths or whatever, they will be someone’s wandering property and shooting them would not be a good idea.

However, as long as the pigs do not belong to anyone – and if they are truly wild, what the legislation calls ferae naturae, they do not – then you may shoot them without breaking any law.


Check that the condition on your firearm certificate allows you to shoot quarry other than deer and if it does not, then all the more enlightened police firearms licensing departments will change it for you to what we call the OLQ Condition, allowing you to shoot deer and Other Lawful Quarry.

Check also that your rifle is suitable. Piggy is a tough customer and takes a dim view of being poked by an inadequate bullet.

Remember that the skin on a boar’s shoulders and neck can be well over an inch thick and is often covered in hard mud, so arm yourself accordingly. (George Wallace)