Kirsten photo shoot 1 002Firearms Act 1968 – ‘Lending’ a Firearm and Ammunition

The following text in relation to Borrowing Rifles (Section 1 Firearms) and Lending a Shot Gun has been provided by BASC. The text remains copyright


Note: The law has recently changed due to “The Firearms (Amendment) Regulations 2010” – this document has been amended to incorporate the age changes given by the regulations.

Section 16 (1) Firearms Amendment Act 1988 allows a non-certificate holder to borrow a rifle and use it in the presence of either the occupier of private premises or their servant without holding a firearm certificate. The following criteria must be met:

  • The borrower must be aged 17 years or older.
  • The occupier or his servant (the lender) must be aged 18 years of age or older whenever they are lending to the 17 year old age group. For borrowers aged 18 or older the lending certificate holder may be of any age.
  • The lender must be the “occupier” of private land or “a servant of the occupier”.
  • The occupier and/or their servant must hold a firearm certificate in respect of the firearm being used.
  • The rifle must be borrowed and only used on land occupied by the person lending the rifle.
  • The rifle must always remain in the presence of the lender (The term “in the presence of” is not defined in law but is generally interpreted as being within sight and earshot.)
  • The borrower must comply with the conditions on the lenders’ Firearms Certificate e.g. the quarry species.


  1. The exemption does not extend to other types of firearm.
  2. Home Office guidance 2013 directs:

“The term “occupier” is not defined in the Firearms Acts, nor has a Court clarified its meaning. However, the Firearms Consultative Committee in their 5th Annual report recommended that the provisions of section 27 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 be adopted. This states that ‘“occupier” in relation to any land, other than the foreshore, includes any person having any right of hunting, shooting, fishing or taking game or fish’. In the absence of any firm definition for firearms purposes, it is suggested that each chief officer of police may wish to make use of this definition.”

  1. Section 57(4) of the 1968 Act defines “premises” as including any land. © BASC


Sect. 11 (5)  A person may, without holding a shot gun certificate, borrow a shot gun from the occupier of private premises and use it on those premises in the occupier’s presence.

Sect 11 (6) A person may, without holding a shot gun certificate, use a shot gun at a time and place approved for shooting at artificial targets by the chief officer of police for the area in which that place is situated.


This clearly states in respect of Sporting Shooting the occupier of private premises can lend a shotgun on their private land and allow its use provided they are present.

A clear distinction is made between a Firearm (sec 11(1)) and a Shotgun (Sec 11(5) and 11(6)).

‘Posting’ Firearms, Section 1 Firearms and/or Shotguns.

It has recently been brought to our attention that some visitors to Scotland are relieving themselves of the trouble of travelling with their own shotguns or rifles and posting them from their home address to the estate where they are planning to shoot.

While the Royal Mail allows guns for sporting use, including Section 1 (e.g. hunting rifles), Section 2 (e.g. shotguns) firearms and low-powered air weapons to be sent in compliance with UK law this is still subject to domestic controls on the possession of firearms. Items that appear to be prohibited weapons may be subject to additional checks and delays.

The Royal Mail recommends 1st Class as the minimum service. The sender’s name and address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

Current restrictions on the size of items being ‘posted’ via Royal Mail mean that anything over 600mm (60cm) in length must go via the Parcelforce Service. It is also worth noting that the maximum value items can be insured for is £2,500.


Condition 4 on every GB Shot Gun and Firearm Certificate states that the shot guns/firearms are to be stored securely to prevent access by unauthorised persons and that reasonable precautions must be taken for their safe custody.

While it is acceptable to post such firearms it is essential that those receiving them are not “unauthorised persons”. While it would be acceptable for a Shot Gun Certificate holder to receive another person’s shotgun they would only be able to hold this for 72 hours before being required to inform Police Scotland and have that shot gun entered upon their certificate. Arrangements would need to be in place to ensure that that person alone was the recipient of the shot gun. Anyone else on the estate, in the house, at an hotel etc. receiving a shot gun through the post would be committing an offence, as would the person who had posted it. These offences could be punishable by a custodial sentence.

Posting a Section 1 rifle would be even more problematic. The only possible recipient would be a person who had a Firearms Certificate that authorised possession of the rifle in question.

This could be addressed by posting either shot guns or rifles to a local Registered Firearms Dealer. This would need to be arranged beforehand and inevitably a charge would be made for handling and storing etc.

Our advice is that no shot guns or firearms should be posted to an estate or other sporting destination/accommodation provider unless you were confident that no unauthorised person would receive the firearm. If unable to travel with your own firearms we suggest that they are sent by a local RFD to an RFD close to your sporting destination. 

A chauffeur transporting either a firearm or a shot gun would require to be either a Shot Gun or Firearms Certificate holder in his or her own right if the certificate holder was not present on the journey. It is not a defence to claim you did not know that a firearm was contained in a bag.


The following is taken from the Government Publication ‘Guidance on Firearm Licensing Law’ and outlines security procedures for the transportation and storage of firearms away from their normal place of storage.


When carrying firearms in a vehicle, the following steps are considered to accord with the duty to ensure the safe custody of the items.

Any firearm should be hidden, preferably in the locked boot or other secured load carrying area of the vehicle. The vehicle should not be left unattended for long periods, whenever possible. Vehicles which do need to be left unattended for any length of time should ideally have an immobiliser and/or alarm fitted.

If the vehicle is left unattended for any reason, firearms should be concealed, preferably in the locked boot or other secured load carrying area of the vehicle. Where practicable, the bolt, magazine or other operating part (shotgun fore-end) should be separated from the firearm and either carried on the person or kept in a locked container, ideally secured to the vehicle, or concealed elsewhere. Where possible any ammunition should be stored separately from the firearm and this too should be concealed from view. The vehicle should be locked, and any immobiliser or alarm should be set. Where possible, the vehicle should be parked within the sight of the responsible person and in a position that would frustrate attempts to enter the vehicle unlawfully (e.g. with the boot close to a wall).

In the case of estates, hatchbacks and similar vehicles, and where the firearms are to be left unattended, the following recommendations should be considered:

a) The responsible person should ensure that the lid or cover of the load carrying area is in place and /or that the firearms are so covered or concealed to prevent their identification;

b) The firearms and ammunition should not be stored together. Where the boot or load carrying area is the most practical place, ammunition should be secured in an appropriate container, ideally secured to the vehicle;

c) Wherever possible, the bolt, magazine or other operating part should be separated from the firearm and either carried on the person or kept in a locked container, ideally secured to the vehicle, or concealed elsewhere;

d) If firearms are regularly carried in such a vehicle, provision should be made for securing the firearms to the vehicle’s structure. For example, security cases, cage, cable or clamp.

Overnight Accommodation

Considerations when firearms are being taken to venues involving overnight or longer accommodation include:

a) Obtaining accommodation which provides secure facilities (some hotels offer this service) but the certificate holder (whose responsibility it is) should satisfy himself that no unauthorised person has access to the security, for example by having spare keys to a cabinet;

b) Separating and retaining possession of integral parts of the firearm to prevent it being used (such as removing a rifle bolt and magazine or separating the stock from the barrels of a shotgun); or

c) Using portable security devices, such as security cords.

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