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Gun licences - and no, this is not about the US

(21 Posts)
MawB Fri 24-Jul-20 07:03:26

It’s about the U.K.!
I am horrified to read that the youngest holder of a shotgun certificate was aged seven, according to new firearms figures from the Home Office
He was one of 247 children aged under 14 who had a shotgun licence in the year to March 2020 with a further 2,482 aged 14 to 17 also having a firearm or shotgun certificate.
Children under 14 are allowed to possess shotguns provided they are supervised and after rigorous police checks. They are conditional on them abiding by specific uses that include for sporting purposes, for use at a rifle or pistol club or cadet corps or at a miniature rifle range.
The youngest in most previous years has been eight but in 2012 there was a child of just five with a certificate.
As of March 31 this year, 586,351 people held a firearm and/or shotgun certificate, a decrease of 0.8 per cent, or 4,951, compared with the previous year.
Even on farms and in country areas, should we allow children - which they are - to use guns of any sort?
The areas with the highest number of firearms (held on certificates) per 100,000 people are rural, including North Yorkshire (2,887), Dyfed-Powys (2,675) and Cumbria (2,565). The Home Office said ownership of firearms and/or shotguns in these areas was largely linked to employment, such as gamekeeping and farming, or leisure, such as target shooting and game shooting.

I realise this has little if anything to do with inner city gun crime, but honestly, how can a minor hold a firearms licence?

Missfoodlove Fri 24-Jul-20 08:53:06

Hi there,

We have gun licenses, you are quite rightly only allowed a limited number of guns on each license
So when our son got his first gun a small 410 it was in his name he would have been 7/8 ish

My husband shot from a very young age and our 2 sons and daughter have also been taught how to shoot, handle and strip a gun.

Legally held guns rarely get into the wrong hands.

Charleygirl5 Fri 24-Jul-20 09:05:34

MawB I also heard it and I was shocked to hear a 7 seven year old was carrying a licence. What in God's name would he be shooting at? Far too young in my opinion but I will probably be shot down writing this. Excuse the pun.

lemongrove Fri 24-Jul-20 09:13:24

It does seem very young doesn’t it? I wouldn't have trusted DGS aged 7 to carry a mug of tea.
With the right protocols in place ( and rifle shooting is a recognised sport) it’s probably alright, but I would think aged about 10/11 would be better.

Missfoodlove Fri 24-Jul-20 10:01:48

Shooting is a good discipline, the rules and protocols are very rigid.

As children our 3 had a healthy respect for firearms, being brought up with guns was normal for them.

They knew not to publicise the fact we had arms in the home.

It would have been virtually impossible for them to release the guns from the gun safe as the key was in another safe and the safe key whereabouts is information only my husband is party to.

When younger they shot targets in our paddock under close supervision.
Once in their mid teens they shot game on driven shoots.

merlotgran Fri 24-Jul-20 10:25:28

Ditto Missfoodlove's post.

DS was a good shot in his teens and trained his own gundog. The girls preferred shooting clays or riding with me rather than going on driven shoots.

If I remember correctly, DS was nine when he got his first 3 bore.

Jabberwok Fri 24-Jul-20 11:00:48

It does seem awfully young, like you Lemon I wouldn't have trusted our son to shut the front door at 7, 17 could be dodgy!!!! But DH's cousin who is a farmer allowed his very young sons to clay pigeon shoot and took them pheasant shooting when they were 8!! I suppose it depends on the child! DH has held a shotgun licence since he was 17, (he's now 80) and among other things, shot for the Fleet Air arm way back in 1961. Renewal this year was a bit of a performance because of Covid, (it was issued very late) and for the first time, much to his chagrin, he had to have a Dr's certificate!! Being 80 ? I'm afraid so!!!!

eazybee Fri 24-Jul-20 11:22:06

I was horrified to learn that an extremely disruptive ten year old I taught had a gun licence and regularly went pigeon shooting in the woods with his grandfather. The guns were stored in the grandfather's house. The boy grew up and calmed down, and the grandfather was a stabilising influence, but nevertheless, I thought it extremely risky.

Chewbacca Fri 24-Jul-20 11:28:10

There have been two gun accidents involving young children, in our village in recent years. One of the accidents involved a rifle for clay pigeon shooting, which the boy held a license for. He was cleaning it, fully loaded, when it went off accidentally and shot his sister in the foot. Even the most stringent licensing laws can't accommodate accidents unfortunately.

Baggs Fri 24-Jul-20 11:47:03

should we allow children - which they are - to use guns of any sort?

What about properly controlled and legal target practice?
Archery coaches have very young pupils sometimes. Safety is paramount and there are very strict rules. I don't see a fundamental difference between shooting arrows at a target and shooting pellets at a target in specific circumstances.

Both are good fun, btw.

merlotgran Fri 24-Jul-20 12:26:22

DH obviously surrendered his guns when he had a stroke and was registered blind! He can see straight ahead so we kept an air rifle with sights. The grandchildren are all in their teens and twenties now and really enjoy target shooting in the field when they visit. Something completely different from their 'townie' activities.

DS no longer shoots. They all gave up in the nineties when it didn't feel right being members of the RSPB whilst going on driven shoots.

Every winter our field and large garden are full of pheasants, happily escaping the Saturday shoots. They're not daft! grin

Davidhs Fri 24-Jul-20 13:52:10

Children can use a Shotgun under supervision by an adult licence holder, gun discipline is total, anyone mishandling a gun is stopped immediately. It is a very good discipline training for youth, there is no tolerance, you either follow the rules or you don’t have a gun.

When a gun is not in use it must be kept in a locked cabinet and accounted for, if a gun goes missing the police will take all your guns away and your licence. Be assured that legally held guns are very rarely used illegally.

Firearms - longer range rifles are quite difficult to get licensed and a training course is compulsory. Pistols cannot be held by private individuals, nor can automatic weapons. The police are very serious about any gun issues, if a neighbour or a wife complains, you are going to loose the licence.

varian Fri 24-Jul-20 18:38:24

I remember many years ago being quite shocked when the seven year old son of an acquaintance told me that he really liked shooting rabbits. What had rabbits ever done to him?

Chewbacca Fri 24-Jul-20 18:44:48

Shooting rabbits on arable farm land is done to preserve crops varian; just a few families of rabbits can decimate a crop in a surprisingly short time. That's why the myxoma virus was introduced and, having seen a lot of rabbits with myxamatosis, I think shooting them is far more humane.

merlotgran Fri 24-Jul-20 18:52:15

If a seven year old can shoot a rabbit he's a pretty good shot.

welbeck Fri 24-Jul-20 20:49:31

you can have good strict discipline with any activity, sport, general school or family life.
you do not have to have children handling firearms for them to experience the benefits of a disciplined approach to life.
that is a backwards argument.

Deedaa Fri 24-Jul-20 21:14:16

The gun clubs that DH belonged to had several children among the members. This was before the gun ban so they were able to use fullbore pistols as well. Discipline was very firmly enforced. All the shooting was at targets and, to be perfectly honest, if you weren't a keen shooter it was all pretty boring. Lots of talk about the ammunition (most people made their own) and distances and how good your grouping was. There was certainly no encouragement for any sort of gung ho behaviour.

At that time Devon and Cornwall had the highest number of gun owners outside Greater London and the lowest level of violent crime in the country. When a security guard was shot and killed about 30 years ago it was a sensation.

merlotgran Fri 24-Jul-20 23:51:07

My father was a member of the RAF shooting team in the fifties and sixties. When we were in the UK we spent many weekends at Bisley watching him compete. He taught me to shoot with an airgun when I was nine.

DH was well impressed when we met because I was actually more accurate than him but he favoured driven shoots and gun dog training. Our three children grew up respecting guns as part of country living. As I said upthread. They made up their own minds as to whether or not they wanted to shoot.

It's no longer a part of our lives because times have changed.

Baggs Sun 26-Jul-20 16:35:56

I think if you witnessed shooting etiquette properly, welbeck (my experience is in archery), you'd probably be impressed. There is nothing else so exact and precise except perhaps complex scientific experiments.

Interestingly, as safetyism has gradually reduced the sort of things children can do except under massive supervision, more and more kids (in Cub Packs, for example) want to try things like shooting and fencing.

Davidhs Sun 26-Jul-20 17:19:14

There is one activity that could do with a much greater level of supervision and compliance - driving. Motor accidents are probably the biggest cause of death and injury of young people, yet everyone thinks it’s clever to break the rules, not just youngsters either.

biba70 Sun 26-Jul-20 17:50:51

do you know many 7/8 year olds who drive Davidhs?

Totally in agreement with MawB, and I certainly am no townie.