Q236: Is there going to be a change in the law relating to air weapons?

The law will require any person who possesses, purchases, uses, or acquires an air weapon to have a certificate to legally hold them.

The licencing requirement came into effect on 1 July 2016. However, this is also the first date that a member or the public could apply for a licence and as a result, enforcement did not begin until 31 December 2016. Please see the points below for more information regarding the changes in the law -

  • A public awareness campaign was launched by the Scottish Government making people aware of the new legislation.
  • People who owned such a weapon prior to that date were able to apply for a firearms certificate by 30th April 2004 that would allow them to keep the weapon.
  • Any person aged 14 or over can apply for a certificate. The cost is still to be confirmed by the Scottish Government and as soon as this information becomes available the details will be communicated.
  • If a person does not intend to license their air weapon they can sell it to a Registered Firearms Dealer, sell or gift it to a suitable person or choose to surrender it to the Police for disposal.
  • The application process will began on 1 July 2016. Failure to obtain a certificate can on summary conviction result in imprisonment for up to 12 months or a fine or both or on indictment imprisonment for up to 2 years or a fine or both.
  • Note, weapons that use a CO2 bulb system are not affected because CO2 bulbs do not contain a projectile and are therefore not classed as self contained.

Police Scotland now have a dedicated Air Weapon and Licensing Project Team based at Dalmarnock Police Office in Glasgow. If you would like more information, their contact details are as follows:

AirWeaponandLicensingProject @scotland.pnn.police.uk

Telephone number - 01786 896130.

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