Q325: How old do you have to be to have an air weapon or shotgun?
No one under 18 years can have with them an air weapon at any time unless supervised by someone who is aged at least 21 years unless they are shooting at an approved target shooting club or shooting gallery.
A young person between 14 – 16 years may shoot an air weapon on private premises providing they have the prior consent of the owner/occupier and providing any missile fired does not go beyond the boundary of those premises.
It also became an offence to make a gift of an air weapon or ammunition to a person under the age of 18 years.
It is also an offence to have an air weapon in a public place without lawful authority or reasonable excuse.
There are currently no lower age limits for an applicant wishing to apply for a shotgun certificate. A person under the age of 14 years may not be granted a firearm certificate in any circumstances.
A person under the age of 17 may not purchase a firearm or ammunition.
Under 15 years old it is prohibited to have with him assembled shotgun except while under the supervision of a person of or over the age of 21, or while the shot gun is so covered with a securely fastened gun cover that it cannot be fired.
A person may use a shotgun on private premises in 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 hunting animals or shooting game or vermin, or, for shooting at artificial targets;
- 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.