UK Airgun Law summary. You should contact your local Police office for more details.
United Kingdom Airgun Law. (Date of this article January 2008, contact home office for definitive version)
Normal airguns do not currently require a licence unless they are over the UK legal limit of 12ft.lbs muzzle energy for rifles and 6 ft.lbs muzzle energy for pistols. Providing you are within the age requirements for ownership listed below almost anybody can own one. There may be local restrictions, e.g. rifled barrels are not allowed in Northern Ireland. Also those using 'self contained air cartridges' such as Brococks have been banned (see below).
Where you can discharge an air weapon is complex, but in a nutshell, it must be on private land or in a privately owned building with the permission of the owner, and for your own protection ot should be written permission. You must not cause fear or annoyance to neighbours or passers-by, and the pellet must not go beyond the boundaries of the property. That means shooting air guns in your own back garden is legal, but extreme precautions must be taken to contain the pellet and avoid annoyance or fear to neighbours. Shooting a pest species in a tree or on your roof will land you in trouble with the law for all the above reasons.
Carrying or discharging an air weapon in the street, or in local woods without the owner's permission, could result in up to 5 years imprisonment. You simply CANNOT take an air weapon to the local woods and do a spot of shooting practice unless you have written permission of the owner, and preferably insurance.
Unless you have a large secluded garden,we would recommend regular use of shooting clubs, shooting grounds, and indoor home practice, such as in a garage.
Changes to the Law 2007
the following was provided by the NSRA as an insert in The Rifleman Magazine Jan 2008.
Current Firearms Legislation relating to Airguns
Following the enactment of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006, listed below are the current regulations relating to the purchase, ownership, sale and possession of airguns and ammunition.
Persons under the age of 14:
1) No person under the age of 14 may purchase, hire or be given an airgun or ammunition.
2) A person under the age of 14 must at all times when shooting be supervised by a person over the age of 21.
Persons over the age of 14 but under 18:
1) No person under the age of 18 may purchase, hire or be given an airgun or ammunition.
2) A person in this age group may shoot unsupervised on private land with the permission of the landowner but must be supervised by somebody over the age of 21 if in a public place.
It should be noted that this means that a person aged seventeen and a half who may have a driving licence cannot take an air rifle from home to his club to shoot unless the gun is possessed by somebody over the age of eighteen or the seventeen and a half-year old is supervised by a person over the age of twenty-one.
Persons over the age of 18:
A person over the age of eighteen can buy an airgun and pellets and use them unsupervised.
1) It is an offence to have an airgun in a public place "without good reason", the proof being the responsibility of the possessor.
2) It is an offence to discharge a firearm within fifty feet of the centre of a highway.
3) When shooting over private land it is an offence for the pellet to go beyond the boundary of the premises on which the gun is being used unless there is permission from the adjoining landowner.
4) Persons who by way of trade deal in airguns, pressure bearing parts or component parts must be a Registered Firearms Dealer and any transaction must be face-to-face. Ammunition for airguns may continue to be sold by post.
1) It is not an offence for a person to have with him an airgun or ammunition whilst being a member of a Home Office Approved Club in connection with target practice.
2) Air rifles with a muzzle energy in excess of 12 foot pounds (which require licensing) are not subject to the general restrictions listed above.
3) An "airgun" with the kinetic energy of less than one joule is considered a toy and is therefore not covered by the above restrictions but may be considered a realistic imitation firearm (if it looks like a gun). The sale of realistic imitation firearms is now banned with one or two minor exceptions, mainly for historical re-enactment, museums and television/film/theatrical performances or as a recognized member of an airsoft site affiliated to the Association of British AirSoft.
Air Cartridge weapons (rifles and pistols)
Owners of airguns that use self contained air cartridges (Brocock / Uberti / Saxby and Palmer / Crown) had to apply for a FireArms Certificate before 30 April 2004. Failure to do so could result in a mandatory five-year prison sentence under the Criminal Justice Act 2003.
Any owner of Air Cartridge weapons who doesn't want to apply for an FAC can hand their weapons in at any police station for destruction (there will be no compensation).
New Laws About Air Rifles January 2011
|New offence keeps airguns under lock and key||||
|Thursday, 27 January 2011|
The Home Office has today issued a press release about airgun security. The full text is below.
A new offence to stop under 18s gaining unauthorised access to airguns has been introduced by the government today.
From 10 February, owners will be liable for a fine of up to £1000 if they do not take reasonable precautions to stop unauthorised access to their airgun by people under the age of 18. Safety leaflets informing new owners of the offence will be also be included with every air gun purchased.
Home Office statement
Home Office crime prevention minister James Brokenshire said: 'For the vast majority of responsible airgun owners, keeping their weapon safely locked up is routine. But when an air gun is allowed to get in to the wrong hands the consequences can be tragic.
'Although serious incidents are rare, there have been cases in recent years where children have got hold of carelessly stored airguns that have resulted in severe injuries and even deaths. We want to do everything in our power to keep the risk of such incidents to an absolute minimum.
'With this new legislation, we are saying there is no excuse. If you do not keep your airgun safely away from children you will be prosecuted.'
No additional burden
Adrian Whiting, Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) lead on Firearms and Licensing said: 'The police service supports this control on the security of air weapons. Responsible owners already take sensible precautions to ensure safe storage of their air weapons. This control will place no additional burden on them.
'Sadly, there have been deaths caused by air weapons and frequently the victims are children. For those owners who have a lax attitude to storage, this provision should encourage them to take action to improve safety.
'ACPO has been involved in the work leading to this order which we hope will improve the security of air weapons and prevent harm and serious injuries.'
How to keep your weapon safe:
The Home Office has now published guidelines "Air Weapons - A Brief Guide to safety" which can be found Below.
Laws in Scotland
As of 1st Jan 2017. You now need a licence to own an Air Gun in Scotland.
If you wish to take an Air Rifle into Scotland you need to apply for a temporary Licence.