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Do your gun laws influence your gun selection for hunting.

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Roebuck, Aug 13, 2007.

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  1. Roebuck

    Roebuck Member

    Apr 25, 2007
    Staffordshire, U.K.

    Quick question for you European shooters do your gun laws influence your gun selection for hunting?

    Here is the US I have several different calibers and guns for different shooting situations (I.E. long range vs short range, big calibers vs light calibers, ect)

    The short answer to this question is yes. The law in U.K. regarding the acquisition of firearms is restrictive at best and draconian at worst.

    The procedure of applying for a Firearm or Shotgun Certificate is complicated. I describe the procedure below.

    U.K. has the strictest and most restrictive firearms laws in Europe and probably many other areas of the world too. They are described as draconian. However, it is legal for anyone to have a rifle or shotgun, providing that they satisfy the necessary criteria. Every person owning a firearm has to have either or a Shotgun Certificate and/or a Firearm Certificate and this is how you get these certificates.

    Shotgun Certificate. This is easier to get than a Firearm Certificate, as the Chief of Police is bound to grant such a certificate unless he can show that one is an unsuitable person to have a shotgun and would present a danger to the public by having a shotgun.

    First you visit your local police station and ask them for an application form. This form requires one to give personal details and details of any and all convictions, no matter how trivial, right down to parking fines. It also gives police permission to approach your doctor to check on your mental state, should the police wish or need to do so. You must get someone to countersign your application who must be a Member of Parliament, Justice of the Peace, Minister of Religion, Doctor, Lawyer, Established Civil Servant, Bank Officer or person of similar standing. Serving police officers, police employees and registered firearms dealers cannot act as countersignatories. You then submit the form along with the fee of $100 (at current exchange rates) to the Chief of Police for your area.

    You will then have to purchase a gun safe or gun cabinet, which meets a certain minimum specification and have it secured to the fabric of the building that you will keep your shotgun in. Normally your home. The police will then arrange for an officer from the firearms administration department to come out and inspect one's security and interview the applicant. Frequently, these officers know nothing about firearms.

    If one's security is up to scratch, the officer will want to know if you are a member of any shooting club and might well ask where you intend to use the shotgun (he has no right to this information in law). The officer then goes back to his office and puts in his visit report. If all is well, one should receive one's Shotgun Certificate within six to twelve weeks, depending on how efficient the police authority is. Some areas take more than twelve weeks.

    When one has one's certificate in one's hand, one can then go to a gun shop and buy as many shotguns as one wants. One is legally obliged to advise the chief of police of every shotgun purchased. The dealer must also advise the chief of police of every gun he sells. Each shotgun purchased will be recorded on one’s Shotgun Certificate by the seller.

    Firearm Certificates are a little different. One gets the appropriate application form from the police as before, but in this case one must have two refferees to sign your application form. They each must fill in personal report forms, stating that to the best of their knowledge, the applicant is not suffering from mental illness, does not abuse drugs or alcohol and has a domestic life that is free from any stresses that may make a person unstable. The applicant does not see these reports. Firearm Certificates have been revoked when marriages have split up. The form also demands that the applicant states what calibre and type of rifle he or she wants to acquire, how many cartridges they wish to hold at any one time and how many cartridges they wish to buy in any one transaction.

    The applicant must also say where (the exact land) he or she will use the rifle, for what purpose and give the address of the land owner, so the police can make contact to confirm the truth of the applicants statements. The onus is on the applicant to show “Good Reason” for the grant of the Firearm Certificate. The form is submitted with the appropriate fee, as before, except that this fee is $100 (at current exchange rates).

    Again, the applicant will get a visit from the police expert, who will likely know nothing of deer hunting or of vermin control or target shooting (these are the valid reasons to show good reason). The police expert will inspect the security and to quiz the applicant as to why the calibres he or she wants should be allowed. The police will also send out a form to the landowner, where one has permission to shoot or to the club secretary, asking for confirmation of the information that the applicant has given.

    When the police have all this information, they will likely issue a certificate. It can take up to ten months in certain areas, though in my area, it is around two to three months. If the applicant has asked for a .22 rim fire and a .308 Win. That is all he or she can buy. If one wants to have more rifles, each must be justified as described above and an application and fee submitted.

    However, we are allowed to have sound moderators (silencers).

    All of this procedure is to safeguard the public but my opinion is that it is pure bovine excrement. (I’d normally put a smiley in here but I think it is too serious a state of affairs to laugh at).

    We cannot have semi automatic rifles, except in .22 rim fire. This type of rifle was banned and confiscated in 1988. (I lost $7400 worth of kit at today’s exchange rate).

    We cannot have pistols of any calibre. They banned and confiscated them in 1997. (I lost another $9400 worth of kit at a similar exchange rate).

    We can have black powder cap and ball revolvers and muzzle loading handguns to shoot at registered clubs and there are certain exceptions to allow some restricted capacity magazine (2 shots) handguns for humane dispatch of wounded and distressed animals.

    It is true though that there are not a lot of gun owners in U.K. Less than 3%.

    There is no public land in U.K. All land in U.K. is owned by someone, even if it is the Government. There is no right of the citizen to hunt anywhere, except for wildfowl on the foreshore. That is the land between high and low tide, but that can be a complicated one. All hunting must be acquired from the person or body who own the land or holds the sporting rights on that land. For instance. I and three friends lease around 8 square kilometres of land from the Government Forestry Commission. One can lease land from private individuals too or pay by the day. There are quite a lot of “Outfitters” who will take one deer hunting for a fee. I am lucky, as I have been hunting for a long time and know a lot of people. I am part of a driven pheasant shoot in Staffordshire, where I help the gamekeeper. As a thank you to me, I am allowed to hunt on the shoot land.

    This situation makes it very difficult for young shots to get started but our shooting organisations do recognise this and do try to help youngsters as best they can.

    It is not mandatory to pass a formal examination before hunting in U.K, as it is in the rest of Mainland Europe. Our hunter training for deer stalking is voluntary at this time but it will come in as a mandatory requirement, Government led, within the next five to ten years. Out voluntary testing is in two levels and is called “Deer Management Qualifications”

    Level one consists of a three day course, consisting of a Shooting Test, Firearms Safety and Handling, Deer Ecology, Firearms Law, Species and sex recognition, Deer Anatomy and Breeding Cycles. There are two practical tests and two written tests at the completion of the course.

    Level two calls for the candidate to perform three separate and successful hunts, in the company of a qualified and accredited witness. The candidate must show that he can find the deer, identify the species, sex, age and suitability to conform with any cull plan, shoot the deer, gralloch the deer properly with concern for minimising any carcase contamination in line with best practice guidance, check its reproductive state (if female), examine the carcase for diseases such as foot and mouth, bovine tuberculosis and anthrax and transport the carcase back to the game larder efficiently and hygienically.

    More bovine excrement, designed by the politicians and aided and abetted by some of our own shooting organisations to make it difficult for people to start off in the sport.

    It can be expensive to hunt deer in U.K. but not prohibitive. It is still within the reach of the working man.

    We do have gun shops. You can walk into them and browse around, just as you do in the U.S. The only difference is that we have the purchase restrictions already mentioned. Also, the range of kit on display will be a lot less than you will be used to in the U.S. and the prices will be around double. For instance, a Buck Folding Hunter will cost around £56 or $112 at today's exchange rate. A visiting friend brought me one over two weeks ago that he bought in Wallmart for $24 +tax, or £12. Big difference.

    For someone just taking up the sport, who might want to do a bit of fox control and deer stalking, where you in the U.S. might select a flat, fast .22 calibre for the fox and perhaps a .270 or .30-06 for deer, the first rifle Brit would likely be funneled towards .243 Winchester. Legal for any of our deer species and adequate for foxing. Many see this as the path of least resistance and go down that route. We can get different calibres for different tasks but we have to jump through hoops for them and face many unreasonable police obstacles which are placed in our path by persons neither qualified or knowledgeable about what they are controlling.

    I acquired many of my rifles in less restricted times but a few years ago, when I asked for permission to buy a .300WSM, it took me more than three months and a struggle involving our version of your NRA to overcome unreasonable police objection. I would like to buy a .300 RUM but I know that if I ask for it, I will be expected to give up my .300WSM or accept the condition that I can only use it in Africa and will not be allowed to sight in or practice within the U.K. using hunting (Expanding) ammunition.

    Most fox controllers choose calibres like .222, .22-250, .223, where deer stalkers choose .308, .270, .30-06, 6.5 x 55 Swedish, 25-06, 7mm x 57, .243 depending on which species of deer they will hunt most, though .243 is legal for all.

    My personal choices are .300WSM for African plains game and our largest deer species (Red Deer); .308 for large deer and wild boar; 7mm-08, .243, .25-06 for smaller deer species and .22-250 for foxing and roe deer in Scotland (.22 centrefire calibre is not legal for roe deer in England and Wales). I use .22LR and .17HMR for rabbits, hares, squirrels, crows etc.

    After reading this far, you may have wished you had stuck with the "Short answer, yes."

  2. kmrcstintn

    kmrcstintn Member

    Jan 5, 2006
    most definitely...PA is kinda conservative with its allowances; as an example, deer & bear must be taken with manually operated firearms...this basically eliminates semiautomatic firearms; my handguns are revolvers, my shotgun is a pump action, and my rifles are pump action and lever action; since I don't hunt enough game birds or waterfowl to warrant a semiautomatic shotgun, I just have my pump action; if I ever get the itch to try turkey my pump action will do the job in a pinch...etc...etc...etc

    short answer...heck yeah!
  3. Skoghund

    Skoghund Member

    Oct 9, 2005
    All what Roebuck says about the firearms law in england is true. Plus if you Get a rlfle for deer stalking and you shoot a fox with said rifle you would be breaking the law. I always got mine for deer control and sporting purposes.
    When you buy bullets for reloading they count towards the total amount of ammo you can hold.
    Yep, poor old GB is a sad shadow of what it used to be for the shooting man.
    More and more restrictions every year. I under stand air guns are the next target
  4. Roebuck

    Roebuck Member

    Apr 25, 2007
    Staffordshire, U.K.
    True Skoghund. Restrictive laws have already been passed.

    Restricting sales of air weapons by way of trade or business to Registered Firearms Dealers (RFD’s) only.

    RFD airgun sales will have to take place face-to-face with both the buyer and seller present.

    The age at which air guns are possessed and purchased will be raised from 17 to 18 years of age.

    It will be an offence for anybody to fire an air pellet beyond the boundary of the premises where they have permission to shoot.

    Bans the manufacture, import and sale of imitation firearms except where exemptions are provided in regulations (yet to be published).

    From October 1st 2007 it will be an offence to:

    Manufacture a realistic imitation firearm.

    Modify an imitation firearm so it becomes a realistic imitation firearm.

    Sell a realistic imitation firearm.

    Bring a realistic imitation firearm in to Great Britain or cause one to be brought in to Great Britain.

    It will be an offence to import or manufacture an imitation firearm which does not conform to specifications which will be set out in Regulations (yet to be published).

    It will be an offence for a person under the age of 18 to purchase an imitation firearm; likewise it will also be an offence to sell an imitation firearm to a person under the age of 18.

    The age at which a person may buy or be sold a crossbow (over a certain power) or a knife will be raised from 17 to 18 years of age.

    Neither are we allowed to carry a knife unless we can show just and lawful reason for doing so. That is, if I go hunting, I can carry my knife. That is just and lawful reason. However, if I stop off for a coffee on the way home, I'd better remember to take my knife off my belt before I go into the bar, restaurant or coffee shop or I commit the offence of carrying an offensive weapon. No defence to this charge. The exception is that one can carry a non-locking folding knife with a blade no longer than two and a half inches. That means I am not permitted to carry my Leatherman unless I can show that just and lawful reason. (I use the word "just" loosely.

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