Buying and Using Airguns in the United Kingdom

Airguns

The use of airguns in the United Kingdom is subject to the firearms acts. Under the Firearms (Dangerous air weapons) rules 1969 airguns are classified as low powered Air Weapons and as such they are restricted to a maximum power of 12 foot pounds force for a rifle and 6 foot pounds force for a pistol.

What happens if they are over the maximum permitted power?

If they are over the maximum permitted power a rifle will be classified as a Section 1 Firearm and will require a licence called a Firearms certificate. If a pistol is over the maximum permitted power this will again be classified as a Section 1 Firearm and will require a firearms certificate in the United Kingdom.

This is provided for in the Firearms Act 1968.

What are the laws in England and Wales in relation to the use of airguns?

The laws in England and Wales in relation to the use of airguns are as follows:

  • Any individual over the age of 18 is able to purchase and use airguns – they can then be used anywhere that the individual has a legal right to use them
  • Any individual over the age of 18 can carry an unloaded air rifle or an air pistol in a public place – this is subject to the proviso that it is in a secure cover so that it cannot be fired

What is the law in relation to the use of airguns by individuals under the age of 18?

The law in England and Wales in relation to the use of airguns by individuals under the age of 18 is as follows:

  • Individuals aged between 14 and 17 years inclusive are able to use an airgun on private property where they are legally entitled to be – this can be done without any adult supervision
  • Individuals aged between 14 and 17 years inclusive are able to carry an unloaded air rifle – but not an air pistol – in a public place, this again is under the proviso that it is in a secure cover so that it cannot be fired

What is the law in relation to the use of airguns by individuals under the age of 14?

The law in England and Wales in relation to the use of airguns by individuals under the age of 14 is as follows:

  • Individuals under the age of 14 may only use an airgun under the direct supervision of a person aged 21 years or older and whilst they are on private property with the consent of an owner – this law is in place to enable approved shooting clubs to be in operation
  • Individuals under the age of 14 may carry an unloaded air rifle – but not an air pistol – in a public place; this again is under the proviso that it is in a secure cover so that it cannot be fired. Furthermore they must also be directly supervised by an individual aged of 21 years

What are the laws in England and Wales in relation to the purchase of airguns and ammunition?

The laws in England and Wales in relation to the purchase of airguns and ammunition are as follows:

  • Individuals aged 18 years or over are able to purchase airguns and ammunition without the need to have any specific certification to either buy, posses or use them – the guns, however, have to fall within the above maximum requirements for airguns
  • No individual under the age of 18 can purchase or own airguns or ammunition
  • Individuals aged between 14 and 17 years may not purchase airguns or ammunition – they may, however, borrow them or have them purchased on their behalf by someone aged over 18 years
  • Individuals under the age of 14 cannot buy, hire, or receive as a gift any airguns or ammunition – however they may use them under the supervision of an individual aged over 21 years.