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Airguns and visiting Scotland

A reader asks what the form is when taking an airgun into Scotland

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Q: Now that the Scottish Parliament requires residents to include airguns on their firearms certificate (FAC), how do other UK citizens fare when they take their airguns into Scotland? Presumably, the Scottish Police will not issue an FAC for owners who live outside Scotland and the other UK Police Forces cannot put an airgun, other than a Section 1, on an English, Welsh or Irish certificate. Are visitors to Scotland exempt from this requirement, or do they have to apply for a visitor’s permit?

A: The 2015 Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act comes into force on 1 January 2017. Thereafter, a visitor to Scotland who wants to bring their air weapon with them must apply to the Chief Constable of Police Scotland for a visitor permit and will have to satisfy three legal tests in order for the permit to be granted. These are: the visitor must have a “good reason” for possessing, purchasing or acquiring an air weapon in Scotland; they can be permitted to possess an air rifle without danger to the public safety or to the peace and they are not a prohibited person as per the terms of Section 21 of the 1968 Firearms Act.

In the case of a group application, each visitor is to use and possess an air rifle in Scotland only for sporting purposes (including shooting live quarry) on private land, for the purposes of participating in an event or competition or for the purposes of target shooting on private land. Where a visitor holds a valid firearm or shotgun certificate, there are transitional arrangements whereby they may possess an air rifle in Scotland without a visitor permit for as long as the certificate is valid. If the visitor holds both firearm and shotgun certificates, the validity of the latest to expire is the operative date. Once a certificate has expired, they must apply to Police Scotland for a visitor permit.

There will be an information note on the Scottish Government website in due course that will include the address to which the application for a visitor permit has to be made.