The law makes no distinction between air rifles and more powerful guns for which you need a license – they are all classed as firearms. This means that any offence you commit can carry a very heavy penalty – and there are at least 38 different offences. Following this code will help you to keep on the right side of the law, but if you have any doubt seek advice from your local police firearms licensing department immediately.
If you are 18 years or older there are no restrictions on buying an air rifle and ammunition, and you can use it where you have permission to shoot.
14 – 17 years
- borrow an air rifle and ammunition
- use an air rifle, without supervision, on private premises where you have permission
- Buy or hire an air rifle, or ammunition, or receive one as a gift. Your air rifle and ammunition must be bought and looked after by someone over 18 – normally your parent, guardian or some other responsible adult.
- Have an air rifle 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).
Under 14 years
- Use an air rifle 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.
- Buy, hire or receive an air rifle or its ammunition as a gift, or shoot, without adult supervision.
Parents or guardians who buy an air rifle for use by someone under 14 must exercise control over it at all times, even in the home or garden.
It is illegal to sell an air rifle or ammunition to a person less than 18 years of age.
Our ideal is...
Those who shoot in Britain conduct themselves according to the law and to the highest standards of safety, sportsmanship and courtesy, with full respect for their quarry and a practical interest in wildlife conservation and the countryside.
Never guess at what the law allows. If in doubt, contact your local police firearms licensing department.