1. Do you need a licence to own an air rifle?
In England and Wales Airguns producing muzzle energy less than 12 foot-pounds (16.27 joules), you generally do not need a licence to own or possess it if you are 18 years old or older. However, you must still comply with other relevant laws, such as not using the air rifle in a public place.
2. What if I want a higher-powered air rifle?
Air rifles that have muzzle power exceeding 12 foot-pounds (16.27 joules), are classified as a firearm, thus requiring you to have a Firearm Certificate (FAC) or a Variation to an existing FAC to legally own and possess it.
3. How should my airgun be stored?
Although not a legal requirement, storing your air guns in a lockable gun safe is the best practice. Nonetheless, in England and Wales, the law stipulates that you must take reasonable measures to stop anyone under the age of 18 from obtaining unauthorised access to your airgun. This could be a secure cabinet or an anchoring mechanism that attaches the airgun to the structure of the building.
4. Can I buy an airgun for my 13-year-old son?
No, the law in England and Wales does not permit anyone under the age of 18 to own one, but he can use an airgun under the close supervision of somebody aged 21 or over. That means you can purchase an airgun that he can use under your supervision as long as it remains in your ownership and under your control.
5. I have been told that my 15-year-old daughter can use an airgun without supervision. Is that correct?
Yes, in England and Wales persons aged 14 or over can use an air rifle unsupervised on private land as long as consent from the occupier has been given. You daughter however, is still unable by law to buy or own an airgun or ammunition of her own until she turns 18.
6. Can I shoot my sub-12ft/lb airgun in my garden?
Yes, as long as no pellets leave the boundary of your garden as this will mean you'll be breaking the law. Ensure there's always a reliable backstop in place. Secure your targets to sandbags and position them in front of a wall or a sizable concrete block. This will provide a safe barrier and also help to dampen the noise produced by the striking pellets.
7. What pest species can I shoot with my air rifle?
Rabbits, brown rats and grey squirrels are regarded as airgun quarry. However, the management of nuisance birds is slightly more complex, as it requires adherence to regulations established by general licences. Visit the Natural England website (or the appropriate authority for your location) to look for updates and terms. Make sure to adhere to the conditions of the applicable licence.