14. Storage of Air Weapons
Under section 30 of the 2015 Act, it is an offence for a person to fail to take reasonable precautions for the safe custody of air weapons in their possession, or to fail to report the loss or theft of an air weapon to the police as soon as reasonably practicable.
This is in line with pre-existing law on the safe custody of air weapons. The Crime and Security Act 2010 amended the Firearms Act 1968 in February 2011 to make it an offence for a person in possession of an air weapon to fail to take "reasonable precautions" to prevent someone under the age of 18 from gaining unauthorised access to it. A defence is provided where a person can show he had reasonable grounds for believing the other person to be aged 18 or over.
The issue of reasonable precautions has wider implications in considering more general security over air weapons. Different considerations will apply depending on whether an air weapon is in use or not. In many cases, when not in use an existing, suitably robust, lockable cupboard may provide sufficient security to avoid unauthorised access to the weapon.
Alternatively, owners may use a locking device (such as a security cord) by which an air weapon can be attached to the fabric of a building, in a secure cupboard or to another fixed feature.
While these arrangements are specifically aimed at ensuring compliance with the 2011 Act, they provide good principles for ensuring the security of air weapons more generally.
An air weapon owner may choose to store air weapons in an existing gun cabinet, provided this does not compromise security of other firearms.
Current Home Office guidance on the storage of air weapons is available at the link below and should be referred to by the police and applicants who wish to possess air weapons in Scotland.
Link - Air Weapons Safety
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