Thursday, April 01, 2010

On Air Rifles

The law makes no distinction between air rifles and more powerful guns for which you need a licence – they are all classed as firearms. This means that any offence can carry a very heavy penalty.

In a public place the rifle should be in a gun cover and always unloaded.

Going on to private land, or water without permission is trespassing, and if you are carrying an air rifle it becomes armed trespass. Whether the gun is loaded or not is irrelevant – armed trespass is a serious criminal offence carrying heavy penalties.
It is an offence to fire an air rifle pellet beyond the land where you have permission to shoot, unless the occupier of the neighbouring land has also given permission.
It is also against the law to fire an air rifle within 50 feet of the centre of a highway if this results in someone being injured, interrupted or endangered. These offences could be committed when someone is shooting in their garden close to a road and the pellets ricochet onto the highway.
As long as the shooter is complying with firearms law, they can shoot certain pest bird species. These are covered by open general licences which means they can shoot the birds listed, provided they have the landowner’s permission and provided they are doing it for one of the reasons allowed by the licence.
These reasons are to protect crops, to protect game and wildlife and/or to protect public health or safety
Birds that are covered by the open general licences - crows, rooks, jackdaws, magpies, jays, woodpigeon, collared doves and feral pigeons.
Mammal pests can be shot at any time provided you have the landowner’s permission. Air rifles are deemed suitable (by BACS) for brown rats, grey squirrels, stoats, mink and rabbits.

Source - BACS


Jeff Cox said...

Steve - This clarifies the matter thanks. EGP is a public place and it is unlikely that the owner of the LNR (Calderdale Council) would give permission for shooting there.

I guess you mean BASC (British Association of Shooting and Conservation) rather than BACS which is Bankers Automated Clearing System (and very boring their meetings were when I attended them).

Steve Cummings said...

One important point here though, is that trespass law would not apply.
However, I think that anybody seeing an unsheathed weapon being carried should make a 999 call rather than Crimestoppers.

Steve Cummings said...

Oops. Apologies for typo. I did mean BASC.

Goldon Gordon said...

Jeff...Calderdale banned hunting or shooting on ALL their land several years ago. Added to which EGP/CB is a designated Local Nature Reserve so shooting of any form would never be permitted anyway. Despite what Steve says about Air-Rifles being classed as weapons the police in my experience take the report of "firearms" being discharged far more seriously than reports of Air Rifles being discharged.

I use a high powered air rifle myself here in North Wales for Rabbits and Wood Pigeons for the pot. The legal limit for Air-Rifles in the UK is I believe 12foot pounds in power. My rifle will go though 1/4 sheet plywood at 20/30 yards so they are very very powerful and I suggest you stay well out of range should you spot someone mis using an air-rifle anywhere in Calderdale. Over 50 yards you are highly unlikely to be in danger however powerful the weapon.

Jeff Cox said...

Cheers Paul. Useful info on the LNR and effective range of air rifles. I intend to keep my head down no matter what the range may be!

I don't have an issue with people shooting as long as they use them within the law.