Originally Posted by Monty
Correct. The loaded or unloaded relates to the need for a reasonable excuse in all circumstances and makes it clear that an excuse is required even if unloaded and 'safe'. But the excuse needs to be reasonable in the context of the rifles state. The point the clause is making is that even if unloaded you still need a reasonable excuse. If it's loaded you still need a reasonable excuse. All reasonable excuses for having a loaded rifle will be valid for an unloaded rifle but not vice versa.
It's by no means cut and dried, and could only be decided in a court.
For example, I'd say that in terms of a reasonable excuse, it's reasonable to be travelling with a rifle in the car with some loaded mags in your pocket. Perhaps more of a reasonable excuse than having the loaded mags actually in the rifle.
But under the definitions in the Firearms act, a gun is still legally classed as being loaded even though the mags are in your pocket.
The point I guess being that if what you're doing isn't deemed reasonable then it's illegal.
It's the same for rifle cases. Under the law it's not illegal to be in possession of a loaded airgun in a public place that isn't in a gun bag. However it's only legal IF you have a reasonable excuse for why you're carrying a loaded uncased gun.
Lol, I think I've just contradicted myself here then
Since I don't think it's either wise or reasonable to transport a gun with a loaded mag inserted, then I must also be agreeing that it's therefore illegal to do so.
I don't think it's unreasonable to have loaded mags in a side pocket of your gun bag while transporting your gun though - I've done that myself many times.