Air Weapon Certificate

While airguns can be used for target shooting practice or to conduct pest control, you really do need a valid reason to own or operate an active airgun. While it is not illegal to use an airgun in England and Wales without a licence, in Scotland, an air weapon certificate is required.

LICENCE Name

Air Weapon Certificate

AUTHORITY

Police Scotland

TIME TO GET LICENCED 4 weeks
COST £72
VALID FOR 5 years
ELIGIBILITY 18+ years, Scottish Citizen
STEPS TO GET LICENSED
1

Documentation required

Two passport style photographs
Independent character reference
Police background check
2

Application for Air Weapon Certificate

Applications to be made via the firearms licensing unit of your local police force.
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What is an air weapon certificate?

While it is legal to use an airgun in England and Wales, in Scotland it is an offence to use and own an airgun without clearance from firearms licensing authorities.

The Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act was first introduced in 2015 to safeguard Scottish citizens and to reduce air weapon misuse.

How to apply for an air weapon certificate

As part of the application for an air weapon certificate, applications will need to produce a ‘valid reason’ as to why they require an airgun. Target practice is normally a good reason to acquire an airgun as long as it is conducted in a safeguarded environment. Other reasons may include to control vermin like rats in the confines of a farmyard.

Airgun certificate applications must be made via the firearms licensing unit of your local police force. You can find the contact details for your local police force at the Official UK Government Website.

What is a Visitor Permit?

If you are a non-Scottish resident and visiting Scotland with an air gun you will need to apply for a visitor’s permit.

A visitor permit may be issued by the firearms licensing unit Police Scotland and may enable those granted a visitor permit to possess, acquire, use, or purchase an air gun during the qualifying period, without holding an actual air weapon certificate.

REMEMBER - It is against the law to do own and use an airgun in Scotland. Anyone found doing so may face paying a fine or in some cases, may risk imprisonment of up to 2 years.

FAQs

While owning and using an airgun in England and Wales is perfectly legal, it is against the law to do so in Scotland. Anyone found owning and using an airgun in Scotland may face a fine or in some cases, may risk imprisonment of up to 2 years.
If you hold a valid firearm and/or shotgun certificate that was issued prior to 31st of December 2016, you will not need to apply for a separate air weapon certificate until your existing certificate expires. This allows you to use and possess air weapons but not acquire any further or purchase air weapons.
It is against the law for anyone under the age of 18 to buy or own an airgun or airgun ammunition, even if it is given as a gift, however, you can use an air weapon under supervision on private premises with permission from the occupier and certificate holder.
Once an air weapon certificate is obtained there is no legal requirement for them to be locked in a steel cabinet, however necessary steps must be made to ensure that someone without a authorisation to possess an air gun cannot gain access to one.
Once obtained by Police Scotland, an air weapon certificate will last for 5 years. Air weapon certificates will need to be renewed before expiry date to be activity valid.