The Law 
 
It is an offence (except in certain circumstances) to possess a shotgun without a current shotgun certificate or temporary police permit. 
 
It is an offence to give or sell a shotgun to someone who is not authorised to possess it – usually by virtue of a shotgun certificate. 
 
When acquiring a shotgun, you must inform the police force which issued your certificate by recorded delivery within 7 days of the transfer. If you give or sell a shotgun to anyone (or lend a gun for more than 72 hours) you must enter it on the other persons certificate and also notify the police force which issued your own certificate by recorded delivery within 7 days. 
 
It is an offence to sell or offer for sale a shotgun which is out of proof. 
 
One certificate holder may borrow a shotgun from another for 72 hours or less without notifying the police, or entering the details onto the borrower’s certificate. 
 
In most cases it is an offence to sell cartridges to someone without seeing their shotgun certificate. 
 
YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SECURITY OF ANY SHOTGUNS IN YOUR POSESSION AT ALL TIMES. 
 
When not in use, shotguns must be stored securely, in order to prevent-so far as is reasonably practicable – access by unauthorised persons. When in use, reasonable precautions must be taken for their safe custody. 
 
It is an offence to sell or hire a shotgun to someone under 18 years of age. 
 
It is an offence for a person under the age of 15 to have with him or her an assembled shotgun except while under the supervision of a person of 21 or more, or while the shotgun is so covered with a securely fastened gun cover that it cannot be fired. 
 
It is an offence to be in possession of a loaded shotgun in a public place without lawful authority or reasonable excuse. 
 
The government has abolished the game licence in England and Wales but not Scotland. It is also an offence to shoot game on Sundays and Christmas Day. In certain counties it is an offence to shoot wildfowl on Sundays. This applies to England and Wales; legislation is somewhat different in Scotland. Always check if you are unsure – never guess at what the law requires. 
 
All birds and many animals are protected. There is an ‘open’ season for quarry species and it is an offence to kill or attempt to kill them at other times. Certain pest birds may be shot by authorised persons at any time under the open general licences issued annually by the devolved governments of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. These are, as they say, ‘open’ and ‘general’ ; individuals do not need to carry or even hold a copy of the licences. Further guidance should be sought from BASC www.basc.org.uk 
 
It is an offence to shoot wildfowl or game with a self loading gun having a magazine capacity of more than two cartridges. 
 
You may only lend a shotgun to someone without a certificate if you are with that person, on land which you are legally the occupier OR if you are at a clay pigeon shoot where the chief constable has granted special permission to allow non-certificate holders to shoot. 
 
REMEMBER – IGNORANCE OF THE LAW IS NO EXCUSE. IF IN DOUBT, ALWAYS ASK. 
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