Offences committed with an air rifle or pistol or BB gun are treated as firearms offences and treated very severely. You don’t even have to fire one to get a heavy fine, jailed or in extreme cases, shot by an Armed Response Unit.

Just bringing an air gun out of the house, if you are under 18 can result in a number of charges.


  • The laws concerning the purchase of guns and ammunition are as follows: –
  • A person under the age of 18 years of age may not purchase nor own guns nor ammunition.
  • Persons over the age of 18 years may purchase guns and ammunition, the guns having a power less than the UK legal limit. Any rifles over that limit require a Part 1 Firearms Certificate that has to be applied for and granted, before they can be purchased or owned


The laws concerning the use of air guns by young persons are as follows:

  • Anyone under the age of 14 can only use an air gun whilst under the direct supervision and control of someone over 21, whilst on private property, with the permission of the owner of the premises or land, or at an approved shooting range or shooting gallery.
  • A person aged between 14 and 18 can use an air gun on private property where they have a right to be, without supervision.
  • Anyone under the age of 18 may not carry an unloaded and un-cocked rifle or pistol in a public place.
  • Someone can only carry a rifle or pistol over 18; it must be unloaded, un-cocked and carried in a securely fastened case.

Here’s just a few – with the penalties you could expect:

Offences and maximum penalties applicable to misuse of air guns under the Firearms Acts 1968 – 1997, Licensing Act 1872, Offences Against the Person Act 1861, Prevention of Crime Act 1953, Criminal Damage Act 1971, Highways Act 1980, Town Police Clauses Act 1847, The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Antisocial Behaviour Act 2004, Violent Crime Reduction Bill 2006 .


You may never have an air gun in a public place without proper reason for doing so. If you are travelling to and from a place where you have the right to shoot, the gun must be in a case as above. A gun is loaded if there is a pellet or any form of projectile in it, including an “air weapon which has a loaded magazine. This is classed as loaded even though there is no round in the breech”

It is an offence to fire an air gun within 50 feet of the centre of a public highway, if by doing so you cause any member of the public using that highway to be injured, interrupted or endangered. This applies even if you are on private property adjacent to the highway. Public highways include roads, pavements, bridle ways and public footpaths. The measurement is taken from the centre of these


If you go on to any land, including over water, and in buildings, without permission you are Trespassing. If you have an Airgun with you it is classed as Armed Trespass, which is a serious Criminal offence even if the gun is not loaded and no ammunition is carried.

There is the risk of being shot and killed by the police should you NOT obey their instructions when challenged by them?

They cannot tell if you have just a toy, a replica, an air gun or a more lethal firearm, so will treat all arms as lethal -and respond accordingly.

“Air guns” and “Air Weapons” also include things like BB pistols, and some guns that fire plastic balls or pellets. The law still applies to these. If in any doubt, DON’T take them outside the home – the penalties can be severe. A school [and its grounds] is defined as a public place.


A person in possession of an air gun should take reasonable precautions to prevent any person under the age of eighteen gaining unauthorised access to the air gun.


All enquiries please contact Dave Mills founder of the ATEO

Contact Dave Mills | email. - Tel. 01543 450173 Mobile. 07761 237633