Applications must be in by 31 October 2016 to ensure owners can keep their air guns until a certificate is granted

Scottish air gun owners are being reminded that from today they have 50 days left to apply for a certificate to ensure that they can keep their weapons when the new laws come into force on 31 December 2016, if they have not yet received a decision on their application.

The new laws, introduced in the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015, will make it a criminal offence to have an air weapon without a licence or permit.  Unlicensed owners could be fined or face up to two years in prison.

Anyone in Scotland owning an air rifle must apply

The Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson, said: “I’d like to remind anyone who owns an air weapon, regardless of whether or not they use it, to apply to Police Scotland for a licence straight away.

“The October 31 deadline gives users enough time to get a certificate, or a permit in some circumstances, before the new rules are introduced. If you possess an air weapon and apply for a certificate by 31 October, but the application has not been determined by 31 December, you can continue to possess the weapon without holding a certificate. You cannot, however, use the air weapon, or purchase or acquire another until your application has been decided.

“The new law is a means of ensuring people can use air weapons in a regulated way without compromising public safety, so if you know anybody who owns or possesses an air weapon, please remind them to apply for a licence.”

Application process straightforward

Chris Martin, member of Juniper Green Air Rifle Club, believes the new airgun laws are a good thing for the shooting industry.

He said: “I applied for an air gun licence when the application process first opened in July.

“I found the website helpful and the application process straightforward.  There’s no reason for people who own an air gun to be put off applying.”

  • From 31 December 2016, it will be an offence to use, possess, purchase or acquire an air weapon in Scotland without the proper certificate or permit. This includes buying an air weapon, someone giving one to you, or simply having an air weapon in your possession.
  • Anyone submitting an application by 31 October should know whether or not this has been successful by the end of the year, or can continue to hold their air weapons until the application is determined.  Applications after 31 October may not be processed before the year end, and the owner would have to put their guns in a safe place – with a firearms dealer or another certificate holder – until they receive a decision from Police Scotland.
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