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Q325: How old do you have to be to have an air weapon or shotgun?

Air weapon

  • It is an offence for a person under the age of 18 to purchase or hire an air weapon or ammunition for an air weapon.
  • It is an offence to sell, let on hire or make a gift of an air weapon or ammunition for an air weapon to a person under the age of 18.
  • It is an offence for anyone under the age of 18 to have with them an air weapon or ammunition for an air weapon unless:
    • they are under the supervision of a person aged 21 or over;
    • they are shooting as a member of an approved target shooting club;
    • they are shooting at a shooting gallery and the only firearms being used are either air weapons or miniature rifles not exceeding .23 inch calibre;
    • the person is 14 years old or above and is on private premises with the consent of the occupier.
  • It is an offence to part with possession of an air weapon, or ammunition, to a person under the age of 18 except under the special circumstances mentioned immediately above.
  • It is an offence to a supervising adult to allow a person under the age of 18 to use an air weapon for firing a pellet beyond the boundaries of any premises.

 

Shotgun

  • There is no minimum age to get a shotgun certificate but a person under the age of 14 years may not be granted a firearm certificate in any circumstances.
  • A person under 15 years old may not have with them an assembled shotgun, except while under the supervision of a person of or over the age of 21, or while the shot gun is covered with a securely fastened gun cover so that it cannot be fired.
  • A person under the age of 18 may not purchase a firearm or ammunition.
  • A person with a shotgun certificate can give or lend a shotgun to a person who is 15 years old on private premises.
  • A person must be 15 years old before they can use a shotgun without being supervised by an adult (who must be at least 21).
  • A young person with their own shotgun certificate can borrow a shotgun for up to 72 hours.
  • Where a firearm or shotgun holder is under the age of 18, responsibility for the secure storage of the firearms and ammunition held on that young person's certificate must be assumed by a person aged 18 or over.
  • A person aged between 14 and 17 may possess and use a section 1 firearm and ammunition as long as they hold a valid firearms certificate for that firearm.
  • It is an offence for anyone to gift a shotgun or shotgun ammunition, to a person under the age of 15.

A person may also use a shotgun on private premises under certain circumstances. A person without holding a certificate may borrow a shotgun from another person on private premises as long as:

  • the weapon is being borrowed for either shooting at artificial targets, hunting animals, or shooting game or vermin;
  • the lender is at least 18 years old, holds a relevant certificate, and either has the right to allow others to enter the premises for the purpose of shooting animals, game or vermin, or, is authorised in writing by such a person to lend weapons on the premises;
  • the borrower's possession and use of the weapon complies with any conditions set out in the lender's certificate; and
  • during the time the weapon is borrowed, the borrower is in the presence of the lender or another person aged 18 or over who holds a relevant certificate and has the right to allow others to enter the premises for the purpose of shooting animals, game or vermin, or is authorised in writing by such a person to lend weapons on the premises.

A person borrowing a shotgun on private premises may also purchase or acquire ammunition on the premises during the time the firearm is borrowed, as long as the ammunition is for use with the borrowed firearm, it is allowed by the lender's certificate, and it complies with any related conditions in the certificate.

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