Publication - Advice and guidance

Air weapon licensing in Scotland: guide

Published: 22 Feb 2019

Guidance published by Scottish Ministers on the practical application of the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015.

Air weapon licensing in Scotland: guide
4. Applications for the Grant or Renewal of an Air Weapon Certificate

4. Applications for the Grant or Renewal of an Air Weapon Certificate

Air weapons licensing is intended to allow the legitimate possession and use of air weapons by those judged safe to possess and use such weapons. The overarching consideration in all firearms licensing is public safety.

Licensing of firearms and shotguns under the 1968 Act is undertaken by the police. Similarly, air weapon certification is undertaken by the Police Service of Scotland ("Police Scotland") and all Air Weapon Certificates (AWCs) and permits will be determined by and issued under the authority of the Chief Constable of Police Scotland.

Sections 3 and 4 of the 2015 Act set out the process for applying for a certificate. This is supplemented by the Air Weapons Licensing (Scotland) Regulations 2016. The regulations set out the requirements and processes involved in applying for certificates and permits. In addition, they prescribe the various forms to be used, the certificate and permits to be issued, and the fees to be paid on application.

Link - The Air Weapons Licensing (Scotland) Regulations 2016

Application form AWL1

To apply for the grant or renewal of an AWC, an applicant will need to complete and submit the appropriate application form AWL1. A list of all the prescribed forms, certificates and permits relating to air weapons licensing is at Appendix 2 to this document and the application form may also be downloaded from there.

The form can also be accessed online at the Police Scotland website at The form itself includes notes to guide the applicant through the requirements of the process.

Prohibited persons and declaring previous convictions

Under section 21 of the Firearms Act 1968 a person who has been convicted of an offence may be prohibited from possessing firearms. Such a prohibition, whether temporary or permanent, applies to air weapons as it does to other firearms and shotguns.

Whether prohibited or not, an applicant for an air weapon certificate must declare any and all previous convictions. The provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 do not apply to an application for the grant or renewal of an air weapons certificate. An applicant is therefore not entitled to withhold information about any previous conviction, however old or minor, on the grounds that it is "spent" for other purposes. However, an applicant does not have to disclose any offences dealt with by way of a fixed penalty notice or other alternative to prosecution. If in doubt, it is better for the applicant to disclose.

Link - The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exclusions and Exceptions) (Scotland) Amendment (No.2) Order 2016


An applicant for the grant or renewal of an air weapon certificate must supply details of one person to act as a verifier. That person must confirm, at Part E of form AWL1, to the best of their knowledge and belief that the information supplied in the application is correct. The verifier must reside in the United Kingdom, have known the applicant for at least 2 years and, in the opinion of the Chief Constable, be of good standing in the community.

Relatives of the applicant, Registered Firearms Dealers, serving police officers, police employees or a member of the Scottish Police Authority may not act as verifiers. If the verifier does not meet the eligibility criteria, the applicant will be asked to provide details of another person who does.

In the case of an applicant aged 14 years or above but under 18 years, the consent of a parent or guardian is required at Part D of the application form.

Where to send the form

Details of where to send completed forms can be found at


Central enquiry unit: