The Air Weapon Law
The wording of the law is to keep us all as shooters safe and to know the Do’s and Do Not’s when using or handling a gun. Before actually using a gun of any description it is worth reading our Safety First column below. This will help to make our sport as safe as possible for everyone. Any air rifle used in the incorrect way can be fatal. By being safe and responsible any shooter will get years of enjoyment from their sport. There is a lot to read but it is worth taking a few minutes to check before you start shooting.
Scotland have a different law so for more information go to: http://www.airweapon.scot
- Always treat every gun as if it is loaded. When passing an gun to anyone to hold, show that it is empty. It is easy to forget that a gun is loaded. When a shot is not taken and time passes, an accident is waiting to happen. Unload the gun to stay safe.
- The air gun should never be pointed at a person, even when unloaded. If you get used to this rule from the start it does become second nature. It becomes a life long rule that is never forgotten.
- The air gun should never be carried when loaded in a public place, or even transported to the actual shoot site with a pellet or magazine in.
- The air gun should only be loaded when it is ready to be fired and it is safe to fire. This means with no one anywhere near where you are shooting.
- It is also advisable to ensure there is a suitable backstop to absorb the pellets, but one that will prevent any ricochets.
- When the air gun is being carried or transported ensure it is securely fastened. Ideally in a suitable gun slip or case.
- All air guns with a muzzle energy of 12ft lb (Twelve foot pounds) or less and any air pistol with a muzzle energy of 6 ft lb (Six foot pounds) or less can be bought from a Registered Firearms Dealer.
- The customer has to be 18 years of age or older to buy an air weapon.
Starting to shoot.
- If you are new to shooting it is advisable to attend a gun club or shoot. There are qualified people who are willing to show you the basics from the very start. By learning the handling and responsibilities of the gun it will keep our sport safe for generations to come.
- When the gun has been mastered it is time to start shooting. It will all be worth the wait and now a new skill can be achieved.
- Start with targets at different distances.
- As soon as shooter gains confidence the results will start to show.
- It is then time to move on to live quarry if the shooter so wishes.
- If this choice is made make sure permission to be on the land is given.
The Air Weapon Law says.
- You do not need a certificate to have an air weapon in England and Wales which is under the legal limit.
- As noted above in Scotland, you may need an Air Weapon Certificate or a visitor permit to use, possess, purchase or acquire an air weapon.
- Go to this link for information. http://www.airweapon.scot
- Lethal barrelled air weapons are classed as firearms and regulated by firearms legislation.
- You must make sure that you know the law and keep within it.
- In addition to the duty, mentioned above, to take reasonable precautions to prevent unauthorised access.
- It is an offence for a person under the age of 18 to purchase or hire an air weapon or ammunition for an air weapon.
- It is an offence to sell, let on hire or make a gift of an air weapon or ammunition for an air weapon to a person under the age of 18.
- It is an offence for anyone under the age of 18 to have with them an air weapon or ammunition for an air weapon unless they are under the supervision of a person aged 21 or over. Or they are shooting as a member of an approved target shooting club. Or they are shooting at a shooting gallery and the only firearms being used are either air weapons or miniature rifles not exceeding .23 inch calibre. Or the person is 14 years old or above and is on private premises with the consent of the occupier.
- It is an offence to part with possession of an air weapon, or ammunition for an air weapon, to a person under the age of 18 except under the special circumstances mentioned immediately above.
- It is an offence for any person to use an air weapon for firing a pellet beyond the boundaries of any premises.
- It is an offence for a supervising adult to allow a person under the age of 18 to use an air weapon for firing a pellet beyond the boundaries of any premises.
- It is an offence to have an air weapon in a public place without a reasonable excuse. It is ultimately for the courts to decide what a reasonable excuse is. However, it might include carrying a weapon to and from a shooting club, or taking a new weapon home from a dealer.
- It is an offence to trespass with an air weapon.
- It is an offence to have an air weapon if you are prohibited from possessing a firearm. Anyone sentenced to a term of imprisonment of between three months and three years (including suspended sentences) is prohibited from possessing an air weapon or other firearm or ammunition for five years. Anyone who has been sentenced to three years or more is prohibited for life.
- It is an offence to fire an air weapon without lawful authority or excuse within 50 feet (15 metres) of the centre of a public road. In such a way as to cause a road user to be injured, interrupted or endangered.
- It is an offence to intentionally or recklessly kill certain wild animals and birds.
- It is an offence to intentionally or recklessly kill a pet animal. Or knowingly cause a pet animal to suffer unnecessarily, which could be committed by shooting at a pet animal.
- It is an offence to have an air weapon with intent to damage or to destroy property. Or to be reckless as to whether property would be damaged or destroyed.
- It is an offence to have an air weapon with intent to endanger life.