Q325: How old do you have to be to have an air weapon or shotgun?
- A young person below the age of 14 cannot possess or hire an air weapon or ammunition at any time, except to shoot an air weapon on private premises, providing that they are supervised by someone who is over 21, they have the consent of the homeowner, and no bullets/bearings cross the property boundaries.
- A person aged 14 –17 may borrow an air gun from a person aged 18 or over and use it on private property without supervision.
- A person aged 14 to 17 may only carry an air gun in a public place if under the supervision of someone aged 21 or over and there is a good reason for doing so.
- Anyone under the age of 18 may borrow and use an air gun for target practice as a member of an approved club, or at a shooting gallery for air guns or miniature rifles.
- A person 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.
- 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 him 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 may also use a shotgun on private premises under certain circumstances. A person without a licence 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 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.
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.