Firearms Law: Nationality vs. Locality.

Hello folks,

Background;
I've been rifle target shooting for about eight years, with ACF, the Scout Association and the University Rifle Team, and have had a taste of clays and rough game shooting, but because these have always been done through a club or with friends on their land I've never yet get to grips with law as it applies to buying and owning kit.
I'm a British Citizen and member of a Home Office Approved rifle club, with no bar to a UK Shotgun Licence or FAC, but have access to a family property in France which is in a (very) rural area known for good shooting, and at which guns and rifles could be securely stored.

Questions;
Does anyone know to what extent am I governed in France by the law of the locality, or followed abroad by the law of my nationality?
Does anyone know if French law is easier to work with than UK law, and whether it'd be worth keeping most of my independent shooting on the other side of the channel?
If no to both of the above, does anyone know a forum which might be able to help advise?

Many thanks!
 
From my limited knowledge I would say that you are better off in France than in England. Their law is a bit complicated as it divides weapons into 8 categories, some weapons are very easy to obtain, others not so. Perhaps you ought to PM Alsacien, he is clued up on France and has a French lincence.
 
Invictus_88 said:
Questions;
Does anyone know to what extent am I governed in France by the law of the locality, or followed abroad by the law of my nationality?
Governed locally - hence the relocation of many pistol shooting clubs to France.

Does anyone know if French law is easier to work with than UK law, and whether it'd be worth keeping most of my independent shooting on the other side of the channel?
Generally, French law is more bureaucratic than English law (although the ultimate restrictions on ownership are less severe) - you need to be a gun club member for 6 months to get a firearms licence, to get a hunting licence, you need to pass an exam ...

You may try applying for a "European Firearms Licence" on the basis of your English licence (see here and here) - via your friendly local Firearms Licensing Officer - and trying it locally.

Actually exporting your guns permanently may be extremely painful - you need an export licence (I'll state I've never actually had to do this - it may be really simple in practice but I doubt it!)
 
If you intend to just visit France to shoot, and you have a UK Shotgun Certificate and/or Firearms Certificate, you are entitled to a European Firearms Pass for those firearms that appear on your Certificate(s). EFPs are obtained from your local Constabulary at no charge and with no further enquiries. (Although as far as the latter is concerned some Constabularies appear not to have read "Guidance to the Police".)

An EFP allows one to posses and use ones firearms in the France but on trips it is as well to have some proof that you will be taking part in hunting or sport shooting while in France.

If however you intend to keep the firearms in France, French Law obtains. As has been said, French law can appear complex but as long as you only want long arms in non-military calibres for hunting it is much easier to obtain them there than in the UK.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
The calibre rules are a minefield, I'm unsure if an EFP would allow you to take a stalking rifle in .308 as its a mil calibre!
 
ugly said:
The calibre rules are a minefield, I'm unsure if an EFP would allow you to take a stalking rifle in .308 as its a mil calibre!
I'm pretty sure it would cover you for possession (most national law regarding the EFP merely relates to the categories from the 1991 European firearms directive, and your stalking rifle is category C whether it is 308 Winchester or 307 Winchester -- I assume that France is in line with Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark etc on this) however you are probably breaking French law if you actually go hunting with it.

However on the other hand you could look at it from the perspective that, since you can't legally hunt with it because it is not category 5 then your invitation to hunt plus your EFP are not valid for possession in France because you cannot validly prove why you have that rifle with you, since you can't legally use it for what you have it with you for...

And then your brain explodes.

Logic and firearms law don't mix.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
French and logic dont mix!
 
ugly said:
French and logic dont mix!
True, pragmatism overules!

I have answered all Invictus' queries by PM.

There is actually a logic behind the French rules, a weird one at times, but logical to a point.

Although I know a Brit who visits and hunts with a 6.5x55 Sako, hunting with military calibres is not allowed (but this rule excludes modern newer calibres such as .338). Why?
France is stuffed full of WW1 and WW2 era weapons, the French being French were never going to trust any government enough to hand them in, so they exist in attics and under beds throughout France. The solution was to stop the ammo supply. Until 15-20 years ago you could buy guns and ammo in the supermarket, you can still buy ammo in most big sports shops and no records are really made, and quantities held/purchased are not controlled. They did not want to tighten the laws for legit sportsmen (otherwise rebellion in the streets), so they invented category 1.
Cat 1 is actually easier than a UK FAC to obtain, I just went through it to get my SLR.
Germany is bureaucratic in its firearms laws, the French laws are just not intuitive, but once understood I think are the best of the 4 countries where I have held/hold an FAC - not that they could not be improved further of course!
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Ok so can I get a party of sporting rifle shots to shoot driven boar in France without all going out and buying .270's! I could just aquire some at the auctions and use them as pool guns, zero in the uk then ferry guns and clients to France for shoot but it wouldnt be the same as using their own!
 
ugly said:
Ok so can I get a party of sporting rifle shots to shoot driven boar in France without all going out and buying .270's! I could just aquire some at the auctions and use them as pool guns, zero in the uk then ferry guns and clients to France for shoot but it wouldnt be the same as using their own!
I have a .270win - I love it for deer as I can tailor loads for different ranges and game sizes!
BA rifles are not great for battue (driven) boar.

If its driven boar then why not use semi auto SG's with brenneck slugs - I use an OU at the moment. The target is moving your way, so only w@nkers fire at ranges beyond 50mtrs.
You want something big and slow ideally, 8x57, 9.3x74 are the top choices - I'm thinking of getting a Beretta Silver Sable express in 9.3 for boar. Other options are the German 3 shot semi-autos from Merkel and Blazer.

Do all your clients just use a .308/.243 BA rifle?
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
You have to remember that good reason for usage drives selection of calibre and action here!
 
ugly said:
You have to remember that good reason for usage drives selection of calibre and action here!
You are kind of stuck then, .243 I would not recommend for obvious reasons, and .308 although the paperwork can be tweaked is more trouble than its worth.
Clients using their own rifles is out, but as a BA rifle is not the right tool for battue anyway it is no loss.......
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
It looks like Spain then as an option!
 
ugly said:
It looks like Spain then as an option!
Driven partridge? Variable I hear, unless you have deep pockets.

Eastern European countries are offering some brilliant driven boar shooting - French and Germans are heading that direction for their serious trips.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
I am thinking about a week long trip, take the scottish hill team in one truck with guns in the rear and away we go!
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Sorted thanks
 
ugly said:
The calibre rules are a minefield, I'm unsure if an EFP would allow you to take a stalking rifle in .308 as its a mil calibre!
I've been talking to Alsacien through PMs, and yup - rifles have to be in calibres not designated as military. All queries fixed so far, and we'll see what happens after I go to the mairie!
 

Hemmers

Swinger
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. UK law obviously has no meaning in France. I'm a British citizen but can shoot pistol perfectly legally if I travel to the States, France or the Isle of Man, depsite the fact I am banned form doing so at home.

Depends what you want. If you want to hunt, then get a hunting rifle on a UK FAC (or shotgun on SGC), and then get a European Firearms Permit which will allow you to take it to France.
If you want something that is Section5 over here, then you will need to get a French equivalent to FAC.

However, as others have mentioned, there may be other local laws regarding mil calibres, and some countries have airguns licensed. As the UK police will not put airguns on an EFP (because they're not licensed here - they will only put stuff on an EFP if you already have it on an FAC/SGC), you may have to get a local permit to take airguns there from the UK.

Depends on what you want, whether it's easier getting a French permit or getting it in the UK and putting it on an EFP.
 

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