Air Weapons

Laws on owning and using an air weapon

If an air weapon, that is to say an air rifle, air gun or air pistol is capable of discharging a missile so that the missile has, on being discharged from the muzzle of the weapon, kinetic energy in excess, in the case of an air pistol, of 6 ft lb or in the case of a air weapon other than an air pistol, of 12ft lb then it is classed as a section 1 firearm and therefore a certificate is required.

Note, weapons that use a CO2 bulb system are not affected because CO2 bulbs do not contain a projectile and are therefore not classes as self contained.

  • A young person below the age of 14 cannot possess an air weapon or ammunition at any time except to shoot an air weapon on private premises with the consent of the owner (as long as it does not go over the boundary), providing that they are supervised by someone who is over 21, or at an approved shooting club or gallery.
  • An adult over the age of 18 can also shoot an air rifle on private premises, shooting club or gallery and does not have to be supervised.
  • It is an offence for a person under the age of 18 to purchase or hire an air weapon or ammunition or for someone to make them a gift of an air weapon or ammunition.


The Scottish Goverment is introducing a new Licensing system for most air weapons in Scotland.

From 31 December 2016, you will generally need a visitor permit to use, possess, purchase or aquire air weapons while in Sccotland. This includes buying an air weapon, someone giving one to you, or simply having an air weapon in your possession. If you already hold a valid firearm and/or shotgun licence issued in England or Wales before 31 December, and you are not planning on buying a gun while in Scotland, you may not need a permit until your existing certificate expires or is renewed.

Applications for visitor permits (or full air weapon certificates) should be made to Police Scotland who will decide your application and deal with any questions you have about the process. You can download the application form from or When complete, it should be sent to Police Scotland at:

Air Weapons Team, Police Scotland, Clyde Gateway, 2 French Street, Dalmarnock, Glasgow, G40 4EH

You can also get further information on air weapon licensing, including information on exemptions from the need to hold a certificate, at  

For further information, please contact the Firearms Department