We are constantly urged to bring newcomers into shooting. The best way of garnering support for our sports is to share them with our friends and acquaintances. There is an easier, and more likely start to this process than waking them up hours before the crack of dawn on a freezing winter's morning to travel to a far flung muddy field. We can simply dish up excellent, nutritious, chemical-free meals to our friends and explain that we have harvested some of Nature's free-range bounty to provide it.
There will come a point, however, when someone who has sat back in comfort having enjoyed such a repast, who envies you your satisfaction of knowing that you have taken part in the pattern of nature as you ought, will suggest that you could introduce them to shooting.
At such a time your heart should leap within you. You should lose no time in getting such a convert hooked on shooting, and your first thought will be for a visit to the range or to the clayshooting ground. After you have done that, you can then wake them up hours before the crack of dawn on a freezing winter's morn etc etc.
One aspect of firearms law continues to cause confusion and I touched upon it in my first article in Countryman's Weekly. My first article was intended to show that with a little thought, shooting law problems can often be avoided.
I talked about how you could go about lending such a newcomer a gun, and this has provoked some enquiries. This article will go into a little more depth, therefore.
The current law is not consistent, and it is not helpful to anyone who wants to introduce a friend to live quarry shooting. It is of course sensible that a newcomer should achieve a degree of proficiency on inanimate clay or paper targets before trying a hand at live game or vermin. It is the duty of the sportsman not to shoot unless he can be as sure as possible of a clean kill.
Of course, under the law, anyone over 17 (apart from people with certain classes of convictions) can borrow a rifle from the lawful occupier of the land or his servant, and use it in his presence. Thus an employee of the landowner, who has himself a FAC covering the rifle, acting on the landowner's instructions, would "represent" the lawful occupier in that situation and could lend an estate rifle (i.e. owned by the lawful occupier) on behalf of his employer.
In respect of shotguns, apart from clayshooting at a police approved shoot, the gun can only be borrowed, again by someone over 17, from the...