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
7. Refusals, Revocations and Variations

7. Refusals, Revocations and Variations

Refusal of an application

An application for the grant or renewal of an Air Weapons Certificate (AWC) may be refused if the Chief Constable is of the opinion that the applicant does not meet the criteria specified in Section 5(1) of the 2015 Act, having taken a view on the various tests set out at Chapter 5.

Where an application is refused by the Chief Constable, Police Scotland should inform the applicant of the decision, setting out the reasons for refusal, by recorded delivery post. If the applicant possesses air weapons the Police should discuss their disposal with the applicant. The individual may choose to sell their air weapons, either through a registered firearms dealer or privately to an air weapon certificate holder, give them to a certificate holder or dispose of them by handing them over to the police. Police Scotland should seek to reach an agreed outcome with the applicant wherever possible. During such discussions, the police should be satisfied that the weapons are held securely by a fit person.


An air weapon certificate may be revoked on the grounds specified in section 11 of the 2015 Act.

The Chief Constable must take steps to revoke an AWC if satisfied that the holder can no longer be permitted to possess an air weapon without danger to the public safety or to the peace, or if the person becomes prohibited from having an air weapon or other firearm under section 21 of the 1968 Act.

The Chief Constable may decide to revoke the certificate in other circumstances, for example where the holder no longer has good reason to use, possess, purchase or acquire the weapon.

Any information indicating that a certificate holder is no longer suitable to hold a certificate must be substantiated.

Should the decision be taken to revoke the AWC, the certificate holder will be informed of the decision in writing, citing the reasons for the decision to revoke, with at least 7 days' notice before the revocation is to take effect. The certificate holder will then be required to surrender the certificate and any air weapons held.

As above, the police should seek to reach agreement on the disposal of the air weapon(s) prior to the 7 day notice period expiring in order that the certificate holder is not committing any additional offences by being in possession of an air weapon without a valid certificate.


Under section 10 of the 2015 Act the Chief Constable may, during the period of the certificate (or at its renewal), vary an AWC. Such variation may be to the overall certificate, for example a change of name or address. Alternatively, the Chief Constable may decide to attach additional conditions, or vary or revoke an existing condition (though not a mandatory condition).

The AWC holder may also apply to the police to have the certificate varied. Such application must be made using Form AWL4, as prescribed in the Air Weapons Licensing (Scotland) Regulations 2016, and a fee of £20.00 is payable at the time of application.

The certificate holder may be given notice to produce the AWC within 21 days, so that the revised certificate can be issued.


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