Who in the world gets a shotgun licence at 10 years old? The answer to that question, is me. Myself and quite a few others as I have since found out. Now this post is not to determine whether this is right or wrong, but more to discuss what having a licence at this age means and to educate or enlighten some readers on what practical applications of giving a child a shotgun licence has.
I think it is first important to cover what the law states on this subject. It is quite clear that there is no minimum age to apply for a shotgun certificate, but the law prohibits children from using the weapons without supervision of an adult, aged at least 21, until they are 15. Children and teenagers aged under 18 are also banned from purchasing or hiring any firearm or ammunition. Therefore, all a child can do up until they are 15 is use a shotgun whilst supervised (which they can do without a shotgun certificate). Now that clearly does not seem to give much of a reason to apply for a shotgun certificate at such a young age. So, the question remains, why bother?
I think one of the best outcomes of this legislation is that it allows a child to apply for a licence in the first place. It would be far too easy to just dismiss children the opportunity to get this licence purely due to their age. This system means that children can be mentored and taught the safe ways to handle a weapon during these early years. Then, when the time comes, they already have their licence and can use a gun on their own with the safe knowledge to everyone around them that they are competent and capable of handling a weapon safely. This may not be the case for someone who just acquires their licence at age 15 and goes straight out on their own. It also allows them to make mistakes under the supervision of mentors that will lead to lifelong lessons.
This method of giving licences to children not only allows them to be more competent with a shotgun but teaches them how mentoring should be done in the future. It means that they will more than likely take their children, nieces or nephews out with them when they are old enough to do so. This ethos breeds a community of safe weapon handling and good practise that we as countrymen and women should always aspire to achieve. Finally, I think this system allows the authorities and subsequently the general public to be at ease in the knowledge that the people acquiring and using shotguns in the UK have been taught from a young age how to safely handle their weapons.
In summary I believe this system is possibly one of the best opportunities in the UK to have a positive outcome on our younger generations. Not only in safe weapon handling but in a digital age where it is far too easy to have children inside for large periods of the day. So why not help your child, niece or nephew get their licence this year. Take them outside, give them a fantastic hobby and teach them some new life skills!
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media channels.
Until next time,