UK Shooting law on public pathways !!

#1
As the heading states gent's , can anyone pass on a brief description regarding persons carrying what appears to be 1 x silenced air rifle or possibly a 22 round due to the silencer and the other being a bog standard gas style air rifle , both are not in gun bag's and persons are walking along a public foot path alongside a reservoir .

I've spotted them twice in 1 week .

My understanding is they should be in gun bags for definite as they are on a public footpath but how far do they need to go off the path to shoot , a friend says 60 ft then their ok !!!!

Any truth in that as I think thats utter tosh but he's one of those that knows it all ....... ex Boot neck :roll: !!!!

Cheers
 
#2
its probably an offense but if there off to shoot legally probably get away with it.
If there poaching then there in a world of poo
 
#3
They are not necessarily breaking the law; only if it is deemed that they are causing a nuisance would they get in trouble (i.e you reporting them). They could even discharge a shot on the footpath; it might be f*cking stupid and irresponsible but so long as they are not causing a nuisance etc.

I have a reference book on shooting law somewhere (written by two ex coppers I recall) so I'll try and track it down. Hope that helps.
 
#5
JonnoJonno said:
As hippy suggests they would need permission to shoot there in order to discharge it.
Wouldn't think that the county council would give them permission to shoot there due to folk fishing in the reservoir ,folk walking dogs and kids on bikes !

Cheers so far .
 
#6
It's illegal to discharge a firearm (and under the various acts this also describes shotguns and air rifles) within 50' from the centre of a public highway (this includes bridal ways and public footpaths).

You must also, in a public place have a reason to be carrying an air rifle. Generally the only valid reason is that you are transporting it to a place where you have permission to discharge it, or returning from said place. According to some an air rifle should also be cased in public, although I'm sure if that is technically correct. However, why you would want to attract attention to yourself by carrying an uncased firearm in public is another matter.

You never know, this chap could be employed by the council as vermin control?
 
#7
Even if he is not shooting, unless he has permission to be on the land, he is guilty of trespassing with a firearm. Try phoning old bill and tell them you can see someone with a rifle shooting - not sure if it's an air rifle or not. Armed response and chopper will usually arrive pretty swiftly
 
#8
From 2006 carrying an imitation weapon or an air gun in public is an offence without "lawful authority or reasonable excuse."

Whatever that might mean.
 
#9
sanchauk said:
It's illegal to discharge a firearm (and under the various acts this also describes shotguns and air rifles) within 50' from the centre of a public highway (this includes bridal ways and public footpaths).

You must also, in a public place have a reason to be carrying an air rifle. Generally the only valid reason is that you are transporting it to a place where you have permission to discharge it, or returning from said place. According to some an air rifle should also be cased in public, although I'm sure if that is technically correct. However, why you would want to attract attention to yourself by carrying an uncased firearm in public is another matter.

You never know, this chap could be employed by the council as vermin control?
I think it is only 'illegal' when a nuissance is alleged. I was stopped by old-bill when foxing next to the road and they had calls of us shooting near to the road. We didn't get in trouble because it was v.late at night and no nuissance could be proved. It should be a bit more cut and dried I agree.
 
#10
sanchauk said:
You never know, this chap could be employed by the council as vermin control?
Nope there were 2 of them about 17 to 19 and they had no clothing to suggest they were Parks Rangers like the rest wear here .
 
#11
sanchauk said:
It's illegal to discharge a firearm (and under the various acts this also describes shotguns and air rifles) within 50' from the centre of a public highway (this includes bridal ways and public footpaths).
Not quite. It is an offence under the Highways Act 1980 s 161(2) to discharge any firearm or firework within 50 feet of the centre of a highway which is a carriageway, with the consequence that a user of the carriageway is injured, interrupted or endangered.
 
#12
unlikely to be legal then phone the old bill next time
arv crews like to get fresh air and s/h air rifles fund there tea and bicciys :twisted:

if your stupid enough to go shooting on public land you desrve all you get
 
#13
If they've got the shooting rights on the land over which the footpath runs there is no offence committed. Be very sure this is not the case before you get an armed response unit out to two law abiding shooters.
 
#14
H3 said:
As the heading states gent's , can anyone pass on a brief description regarding persons carrying what appears to be 1 x silenced air rifle or possibly a 22 round due to the silencer and the other being a bog standard gas style air rifle , both are not in gun bag's and persons are walking along a public foot path alongside a reservoir .

I've spotted them twice in 1 week .

My understanding is they should be in gun bags for definite WRONG - NO REQUIREMENT as they are on a public footpath but how far do they need to go off the path to shoot , a friend says 60 ft then their ok !!!!WRONG, no prohibition on shooting from a public footpath per se.

Any truth in that as I think thats utter tosh but he's one of those that knows it all ....... ex Boot neck :roll: !!!!

Cheers
 
#15
Beerhunter said:
sanchauk said:
It's illegal to discharge a firearm (and under the various acts this also describes shotguns and air rifles) within 50' from the centre of a public highway (this includes bridal ways and public footpaths).
Not quite. It is an offence under the Highways Act 1980 s 161(2) to discharge any firearm or firework within 50 feet of the centre of a highway which is a carriageway, with the consequence that a user of the carriageway is injured, interrupted or endangered.

As Beerhunter correctly points out - ONLY applies on a highway which comprises a carriageway - ie a road or byway, NOT a footpath or bridleway, with the additional need for disturbance to have been caused.


EX_STAB said:
If they've got the shooting rights on the land over which the footpath runs there is no offence committed. Be very sure this is not the case before you get an armed response unit out to two law abiding shooters.
Indeed, as long as they have the permission of the landowner to be there, then its none of anyone else's business (even if members of the public are around, the fact that they had permission to be there shooting would amount to reasonable excuse for having a firearm in a public place)
 
#16
EX_STAB said:
If they've got the shooting rights on the land over which the footpath runs there is no offence committed. Be very sure this is not the case before you get an armed response unit out to two law abiding shooters.
Nope they don't have the rights at all as it belongs to the Council as stated further back in the thread , there's fishing spots , cycle pathways , picnic areas and children play areas so youngsters walking about like that is a no no according to the Police , spoke to them the other day .
 
#17
H3 said:
Nope they don't have the rights at all as it belongs to the Council as stated further back in the thread , there's fishing spots , cycle pathways , picnic areas and children play areas so youngsters walking about like that is a no no according to the Police , spoke to them the other day .
Sorry to be pedantic here H£, but you do not say that earlier in the thread, and in these issues its all about an accurate description of the exact situation - you stated that its "public foot path alongside a reservoir" nowhere have you stated that the council are the actual legal landowners - you have also never stated that they have fired the weapons there, only been seen carrying them.

i) there is no reason or suggestion that the people involved do not have the permission of the LANDOWNER to shoot there, if it is owned by the council then that would be a matter of fact for the council to tell you or the police, not PC Plod to announce that its a "no no"

ii) even without the permission of the landowner, there may well be permission of someone else with a vested interest in the land - the farmer, owner of the shooting rights, the local wildlife group, again, this would be a matter of fact not known to PC Plod.

iii) Even if they did not have the permission of the either of the two above, there may well still be a perfectly good lawful excuse for them to be carrying weapons along a public footpath - for example they have permission to shoot on adjoining fields and are using the footpath to get there as it is the most direct route - there is no legal duty to have the weapons covered in a public place, it is a matter of reasonable excuse to be decided ultimately by a tribunal of fact in a constituted court of law, not by PC Plod who knows the sum of fcuk all about firearms law

iii) "picnic areas and children play areas so youngsters walking about like that is a no no according to the Police" utter, utter complete and total bollokcs - the law states that carrying of firearms in a public place is perfectly legal with reasonable excuse, a couple of examples of such I've outlined above.

I know you don't want these answers to be true, as you clearly feel that they are doing something wrong, but please don't just believe anything thats said to you by Plod, as this is a highly technical area of law with massive repercussions if you go creating hassle where there is no need for it.
 
#18
labrat said:
H3 said:
Nope they don't have the rights at all as it belongs to the Council as stated further back in the thread , there's fishing spots , cycle pathways , picnic areas and children play areas so youngsters walking about like that is a no no according to the Police , spoke to them the other day .


Sorry to be pedantic here H3, but you do not say that earlier in the thread, and in these issues its all about an accurate description of the exact situation - you stated that its "public foot path alongside a reservoir" nowhere have you stated that the council are the actual legal landowners - you have also never stated that they have fired the weapons there, only been seen carrying them.

I know the area well as ive lived here for 26 yrs and I have mentioned the Council bit a few posts back , actually my second post , ive highlighted it for you ....

i) there is no reason or suggestion that the people involved do not have the permission of the LANDOWNER to shoot there, if it is owned by the council then that would be a matter of fact for the council to tell you or the police, not PC Plod to announce that its a "no no"

PC plod was a firearms chap and he didnt like the idea so I can only go by what he told me over the phone


ii) even without the permission of the landowner, there may well be permission of someone else with a vested interest in the land - the farmer, owner of the shooting rights, the local wildlife group, again, this would be a matter of fact not known to PC Plod.

Your also guessing sorry

iii) Even if they did not have the permission of the either of the two above, there may well still be a perfectly good lawful excuse for them to be carrying weapons along a public footpath - for example they have permission to shoot on adjoining fields and are using the footpath to get there as it is the most direct route - there is no legal duty to have the weapons covered in a public place, it is a matter of reasonable excuse to be decided ultimately by a tribunal of fact in a constituted court of law, not by PC Plod who knows the sum of fcuk all about firearms law

nope when you drive or walk into the area its all used by folk like yourself taking the kids for a walk to see the ducks and squirrels not some nobbers in track suits taking pot shots , yep I did see that as I ran passed when out jogging on the first occasion , the surrounding area is woodland and is well fenced off from farmers fields , you could call it a park as such .

iii) "picnic areas and children play areas so youngsters walking about like that is a no no according to the Police" utter, utter complete and total bollokcs - the law states that carrying of firearms in a public place is perfectly legal with reasonable excuse, a couple of examples of such I've outlined above.

No reasonable excuse in this situation me thinks , you most probs don't want to hear that

I know you don't want these answers to be true, as you clearly feel that they are doing something wrong, but please don't just believe anything thats said to you by Plod, as this is a highly technical area of law with massive repercussions if you go creating hassle where there is no need for it.
Ha ! me creating hassle come off it , why do you think you have more knowledge than the chap I spoke to , I was asking for advice on the matter here , thanks for your input though
 
#19
H3 said:
PC plod was a firearms chap and he didnt like the idea so I can only go by what he told me over the phone
Oh well if he didn't like the idea than that must be what the law says. :roll:
 

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