How should you secure your guns when you're planning on going away on a long break? A reader asks the question ...
Q: I am planning on taking a long holiday abroad away from home. What legal obligations do I have as a responsible shooter in respect of storing my guns securely whilst I am away? What is the best solution for longterm gun storage?
A: Well done for asking the question.
There are plenty of things you could and should do.
Firstly, bear in mind that the standard condition 4 (a) of your shotgun certificate states that you are obliged to store your firearms and ammunition (or shotguns) securely at all times so as to prevent access to the firearms or ammunition by an unauthorised person.
Obviously, this stringent condition is intended to to prevent any unauthorised person, be they your spouse, child or a burglar, getting hold of your shotguns.
A criminal offence
If you fail to comply with this condition you are committing a criminal offence. How you prevent unauthorised access is a matter for you to decide given your personal circumstances.
It is your responsibility to store your guns securely, but the way you do this is not prescribed.
Longterm gun storage
Keeping your guns in a locked security cabinet and hiding the key may be enough but, since you are intending to be away for a long time, such an arrangement might not meet the condition.
Indeed, the extent to which a home is to be unoccupied is one of the recommended factors to be considered in making an assessment of the security risk involved in storing shotguns on the property.
Store your guns with a registered firearms dealer
In such circumstances it might, for example, be better to ask a registered firearms dealer to store your shotguns in his armoury.
That arrangement should keep the guns out of the wrong hands and also prevent you from being prosecuted for breach of condition 4(a) and losing your shotgun certificate.
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It would also be the action of a responsible, safe shooter.