If you're an airgunner you need to behave responsibly, safely and legally. Here's what the law says.

The current airgun law

  • Under-18’s must be prevented from gaining unauthorised access to airguns, or the owner will be liable to a fine. Store the air weapon in a lockable cupboard – keeping the keys separate and secure. Alternatively a locking device can be used to attach the air rifle to the fabric of the building or a fixed feature.
  • In Scotland, you need an Air Weapon Certificate or a visitor permit to use, possess, purchase or acquire an air weapon.
  • It is illegal to sell an air weapon or ammunition to a person under 18 years of age.
  • It is an offence for any person to use an air weapon for firing a pellet beyond the boundaries of any premises.  This includes a supervising adult who allows a person under the age of 18 to use an air weapon for firing a pellet beyond the boundaries of any premises.
  • Airguns with a muzzle energy of more than 12ft/lbs can only be held on a firearm certificate (FAC)

At what age can you use an air gun?

Under 14 years

  • You can use an air weapon under supervision on private premises with permission from the occupier – normally the owner or tenant.
  • The person who supervises you must be at least 21 years old.
  • You cannot buy, hire or receive an air weapon or its ammunition as a gift, or shoot, without adult supervision.
  • Parents or guardians who buy an air weapon for use by someone under 14 must exercise control over it at all times, even in the home or garden.

14-17 years

  • You can borrow an air weapon and ammunition
  • You can use an air weapon, without supervision, on private premises where you have permission
  • You cannot buy or hire an air weapon, or ammunition, or receive one as a gift.
  • Your air weapon and ammunition must be bought and looked after by someone over 18 – normally your parent, guardian or some other responsible adult.
  • You cannot have an air weapon in a public place unless you are supervised by somebody aged 21 or over, and you have a reasonable excuse to do so (for example, while on the way to a shooting ground).

18 years and above

  • If you are 18 years or older there are no restrictions on buying an air weapon and ammunition, and you can use them wherever you have permission to shoot


airgun security

garden airgunning

Garden airgunning

Anyone who has a moderate sized garden probably has sufficient space to set up a shooting range for an air rifle, and there is…

Security rules for responsible airgunners

  • Keep your airgun under close supervision at all times and to never leave it unattended. Where you have no option but to put your air weapon down for short periods, unload it and gather up all the ammunition.
  • Prevent anyone under the age of 18 from gaining unauthorised access to your air weapon – which might mean attaching it to a fixed object using a security cord or similar device, or locking it out of sight in a car.
  • Always treat an air weapon as though it were loaded.
  • Never point an air weapon at another person
  • Never load an air weapon until it is ready to be fired
  • Never fire an air rifle unless the shot is safe (make sure a backstop or pellet catcher is used and nobody is nearby who could be in danger).
  • Never rely on a safety catch to make the air rifle secure
  • Never put a loaded air weapon down. Always safely discharge or unload and uncock it first
  • Transport air weapons in a gun slip
  • Never store an air rifle loaded
  • Store air rifles out of sight and away from pellets
  • Store air rifles inside a house rather than in a garden shed
  • Endeavour to make a stored air rifle incapable of being fired.


  • mark edwards

    Does this apply if no children what so ever come in the house where it is kept hidden out of sight but no GUN SAFE AND AMMO KEPT SEPPERATELY?

  • Chris Johnson

    I hope that the Home Office or ACPO is going to do a promotion to publicize this new Offence! Many Air-Rifles are owned by people who are not Shooting enthusiasts & do not read the Shooting Press or belong to a Shooting Association. Some will still own the Air-Rifle they first had in their ‘teens but now rarely use it. While the new Offence can be reported by the Shooting Press & Associations, the message needs to be broadcast more widely. Just putting a leaflet in with each new Air-Rifle will do nothing to reach owners who may have had their Air-Rifle for several decades.