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Shooting FAQs

Do I need to get written permission for shooting activities?

Yes. POR 9.37 states that written parental/guardian consent must be obtained for all shooting activities for under 18 year olds. Written permission can either be as a signed form (an example form can be found here), as an email, text message or online form as long as you can guarantee the consent has been given by the parent/guardian.
Anyone over 18 does not need written permission, but it is best practice to get a declaration that they are not subject to restrictions of Section 21 of the Firearms Act 1968.

Can I get consent for more than one activity session on the same form?
If it is a series of connected sessions, such as undertaking the Master at Arms Activity Badge, then yes. If you wish to get blanket permission from the point where a young person joins your section, this is not acceptable.

How long do we retain a parental consent form?
The activity should be classed as an event, so the form should be kept in line with the HQ retention policy for events.

Do I still need to get written consent to take firearms on to private/Scout owned property?
It is not a requirement to have written consent, but it is best practice as you may need to prove it later. You are required by law to have consent, but this can be oral or written (written includes email or text message).

How do I know if I have consent to take firearms on to private/Scout owned property?
If you are unsure, you will need to communicate with the owner (or their designate) of the place where you intend to take the firearm(s), to get clarity. You are required by law to have consent.

Do I need a qualification to run shooting activities with Nerf Guns? And do I need to get written parent/guardian permission?
No. Nerf Guns are classed as a toy. You do not need a qualification to run any activity with equipment classed as a toy by the manufacturer. Toy guns are not governed by POR 9.37, but you must always refer to the manufacturer’s guidance when running activities using toy equipment.
We recommend that as part of your risk assessment, you consider the use of eye protection when running this activity.
Please also take into consideration local sensitivities about shooting activities. Whilst you do not need to get written permission from parents/guardians, some parents/guardians do not like their child taking part in any form of shooting activity, even if it is a toy.

Do I need an archery qualification to run crossbow sessions?
No. Crossbows, as defined in POR 9.37, are classed as a shooting activity. Unlike a bow and arrow used for archery activities, crossbows are handled more like a gun and also fire using a trigger.  The National Small-bore Rifle Association (NSRA) are the national governing body for Match and Sport Crossbow. Instructors running crossbow activities must have a relevant crossbow qualification, as listed on the Shooting – Qualifications page.
Crossbows with a draw weight of less than 1.4kg are outside the scope of the 1987 Crossbows Act. They are classed as toys, will be identified as such by their manufacturer, and no qualification is needed to run activities using this type of crossbow. Always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines when running this activity and carry out a risk assessment having regard to the age of the intended participants.

How is the list of acceptable qualifications decided?
We regularly review the content of qualifications offered by a range of UK shooting organisations. The list provided is meant to enable as many young people as possible to experience the sport whilst maintaining a consistent level of safety across the country.

Can I now shoot at human and animal shaped targets?
No. Shooting at human and animal shaped targets is still banned. You cannot do this as part of a Scout event or on Scout property.

What about zombie motifs? Can I use targets which shoot red liquid out when they are shot?
Any target that looks like a human or an animal, skeletal or otherwise, cannot be shot at as part of a Scout activity or on Scout owned property. You must be extremely sensitive when using targets with liquid inside; especially by taking into consideration the risk of a young person fainting or becoming distressed at the sight of ‘blood’ whilst still holding a firearm.

How can I become qualified to run shooting sessions for Scouts?
Most people choose to undertake the NSRA YPS Tutor course which is a 2 day course. Contact your Assistant County Commissioner - Activities (or equivalent) to see if there are any courses in your local area or email the NSRA and they will put you in touch with members local to you who can help.

Can I do airsoft as a Scouting activity?
Airsoft is allowed as a Scouting activity. Airsoft guns are outside the scope of the shooting activity rules. Airsoft should be arranged following POR rule 9.77 (for Scout-led) or POR rule 9.9 (for externally-led) and take into consideration local sensitivities as well as the age, maturity and abilities of your young people.

Why can’t .22 calibre air rifles and air pistols be used indoors, just like .177?
.22 air pellets are larger and heavier than the .177 equivalents. .22 air rifles and air pistols are also usually made as powerful as the law permits, whilst .177 equipment is designed for target shooting and is generally less powerful. Use of .22 equipment at short range is much more likely to cause pellets to rebound dangerously from inappropriate surfaces, especially wood, and may damage targets intended for use with .177 calibre.

Why is the NSRA YPS Tutor Trainer being phased out?
This was originally implemented as a short term solution to help with the shortfall of trainers to deliver the YPS Tutor qualification to members of Scouting.
From autumn 2018, the NSRA will no longer be accepting applications to become Tutor Trainers.
These roles will be phased out by 2024 and we will be working with the NSRA to help offer opportunities and funding  to upskill existing  Tutor Trainers to become County Coaches over the next 5 years.
Support from the Scout Grants Committee for shooting NGB qualifications may be available to support this transition period. Please see scouts.org.uk/grants for more information.


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