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On this page:
Air weapons shoot projectiles using compressed air or gas.
Common air weapons include:
In England and Wales, most air weapons of this type do not need a firearm certificate. But you must be over 18 to buy or hire one.
There are certain air weapons classed as firearms. These are dangerous, so you'll need permission to use them.
Air weapons are firearms if they are 'lethal barrelled'. In other words, if they have muzzle energy greater than one joule (0.7ft/lbs).
You'll need a firearm certificate if:
Air pistols with a muzzle energy greater than 6ft/lbs are prohibited. They cannot be licensed. To use one, you need permission from the Home Secretary.
Please note that these rules apply to England and Wales. Other countries may have different regulations.
You can use air weapons for:
You can only shoot on private property. Always make sure you have the landowner's permission. Trespassing on private property while carrying a weapon is a serious offence.
It is an offence to:
You can never use an air weapon if:
You can use an air weapon five years after your release date if:
If you're under 18, you cannot own or hire an air weapon. But there are specific situations where you may be able to use one.
While you cannot own an air weapon or ammunition, someone may loan you the use of theirs. You can only use that air weapon:
You can carry an air weapon in a public place only when:
It is against the law to sell or rent air weapons or ammunition to someone under 18.
Parents or guardians may choose to buy air weapons or ammunition for their child under 14 to use. The parent or guardian must have control of the air weapon at all times.
For guidance on safe storage and handling of air weapons, read the GOV.UK safety information.
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