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Airgun misue - What could happen

airguns campaign - replica weaponsYou could get shot

Anyone reported to be causing alarm to the public by brandishing a firearm is likely to be reported to the police. That person is likely to be confronted by an Armed Response Unit who cannot tell if a weapon is a replica or the real thing.

You could end up in court

At present, most airguns do not need to be licensed. However, they are still classed as firearms and fall under the strict control of the firearms laws.

Anyone who uses an airgun must ensure that they know the law and keep within it. If they don't, they could find themselves in court facing charges with penalties ranging from heavy fines right up to life imprisonment.

You might not realise how many restrictions there are on when and where airguns can be used, and by who. Here are just a few of the laws which users must obey:

  • It is an offence for any person, regardless of age, to be in possession of an airgun in a public place without a reasonable excuse. A reasonable excuse might be carrying a gun to and from a target shooting club or to and from land on which you have permission to shoot. It would also include taking a gun to and from a gunsmith for repair or service or taking a new gun home from the dealer
  • It is illegal when shooting on private property to allow a pellet from an airgun to cross into a neighbouring property without the owner's permission
  • The minimum age for buying an airgun is 18. It is illegal to sell, hire or give an airgun as a gift to an under-18, and for an under-18 to buy or hire an airgun
  • It is an offence to shoot pet animals. Besides being abhorrent to most people, this is an offence that gives all airgun shooters a bad name

All this should be no more than common sense. You can find more practical information about how the law applies to shooters on the Home Office website.

The Scottish Government is committed to regulating air weapons in the near future.  Find out more about air weapon licensing.