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Old 10-18-2017, 05:30 PM   #1
Shostak
 
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Default Weapons in 1930 England

Hi, folks.

I am aware that England had begun limiting access to personal weapons by the 1920s, but that very strict regulations were not put into place until somewhat later. Any thoughts on what weapons (middle and poor upper class) London-based PCs and (mostly working class) rural NPCs could believably possess in an adventure set in 1930 rural England? I'm thinking perhaps a handgun or knife for some of the urbanites and many farmers would most likely have a small rifle and/or shotgun for dealing with vermin, and maybe just a fat stick for the publicans. Or is this far too liberal for 1930?
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Old 10-18-2017, 09:48 PM   #2
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Default Re: Weapons in 1930 England

That's all quite plausible. Pistols require a Firearms Certificate, which they can get at the discretion of their local Chief Constable. This is far easier for upper-class people. Knives are not regulated, but carrying them for combat purposes will make the police dubious about you.

Farmers are more likely to have a shotgun than a small-bore rifle, and shotguns weren't controlled at the time. A publican wanting a gun for keeping order in his establishment would be regarded very dubiously; a shotgun would be possible, but a cudgel is legally much safer.
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Old 10-19-2017, 04:18 AM   #3
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Default Re: Weapons in 1930 England

Yes, if you're blatantly expecting lethal violence in your pub the magistrates will start wondering why you should be allowed to have a pub at all. Any weaponry behind the bar is likely to be strictly unofficial, and it's much easier to cover up a light cudgelling than gunshot wounds.

There are however quite a few unregistered firearms about, mostly pistols brought back as souvenirs from the War. They live in drawers and are mostly forgotten about. Criminals tend not to use them, because sentences are much more severe for everyone caught in a criminal enterprise if any of them has or uses a firearm - so gangs check each other before they go out on a job.

Depending on the sort of rural area, there may be rifles on the Squire's wall, but they are souvenirs from his hunting days in Africa or India rather than anything used locally.
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Old 10-19-2017, 04:55 AM   #4
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Default Re: Weapons in 1930 England

Note that deer are shot in the UK, but almost exclusively by the aristocracy (legally at least), especially in the '30s. Expect fairly standard bolt action rifles for that.
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Old 10-19-2017, 05:16 AM   #5
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Default Re: Weapons in 1930 England

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Originally Posted by The Colonel View Post
Note that deer are shot in the UK, but almost exclusively by the aristocracy (legally at least), especially in the '30s. Expect fairly standard bolt action rifles for that.
Yeah, a key point is that there's nowhere that you can just go and hunt for food - all the land is owned by someone, and so are the hunting rights. People who aren't landowners don't have a legitimate use for hunting weapons.
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Old 10-19-2017, 05:35 AM   #6
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Default Re: Weapons in 1930 England

Thanks, gentlemen. This is perfect information.
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Old 10-19-2017, 07:58 AM   #7
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Yeah, a key point is that there's nowhere that you can just go and hunt for food - all the land is owned by someone, and so are the hunting rights. People who aren't landowners don't have a legitimate use for hunting weapons.
Kipling's poem "The Land" puts it this way: "I can fishóbut Hobden tickles. I can shootóbut Hobden wires." That is, the poacher relies on quiet, unobtrusive snares, and takes small game with them. Poachers had an easier time when every Englishman was an archer . . . though the game laws back then were a lot more harshly enforced.
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Old 10-19-2017, 08:55 AM   #8
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Thanks, gentlemen. This is perfect information.
As a small note and only knowledge from reading mysteries of that era I think many more of those shotguns might 20 gauge rather than 12 as compared to the US.
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Old 10-19-2017, 09:05 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
As a small note and only knowledge from reading mysteries of that era I think many more of those shotguns might 20 gauge rather than 12 as compared to the US.
Twelve bores are still fairly common - a 20 might be a vermin gun rather than a sporting one so might well be a "lower class" weapon than an aristocrat's. Twelves are traditional for grouse and pheasants whilst you might use a ten bore for geese.

...of course, there are always punt guns...

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Kipling's poem "The Land" puts it this way: "I can fishóbut Hobden tickles. I can shootóbut Hobden wires." That is, the poacher relies on quiet, unobtrusive snares, and takes small game with them. Poachers had an easier time when every Englishman was an archer . . . though the game laws back then were a lot more harshly enforced.
Indeed - the poachers in The Ballad of Minepit Shaw were using crossbows to hunt Lord Pelham's deer. Although I have no idea if that was normal or not.
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Old 10-19-2017, 10:26 AM   #10
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Default Re: Weapons in 1930 England

Does anyone know how common poaching was in the 1930's? Between the the various Houses that lost their heir's in WW I, and the economic hardships of the Great Depression ending family fortunes, how many estates were effectively abandoned in the more rural areas? Of course the commoners needing to eat would also play into this.
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