Things to Know If You Plan to Use an Air Rifle in England

Air guns make use of compressed gases including air to propel bullets and other projectiles without going through the oxidation process employed in other firearms. 

Apart from guns, other weapons make use of compressed air, e.g air bows, they are called air weapons. 

Air weapons are used for hunting and other shooting sports. In England, air weapons that have a muzzle energy of less than one Joule are not considered lethal weapons and therefore, do not require a permit. 

However, air weapons can quickly become lethal weapons when they sport muzzle energy of over 1 Joule. That said, buying air rifles in the UK requires the weapon owner to learn and understand certain things about the weapon, including the rules governing the ownership of an air rifle in the region. 

Age Requirement

Not unlike other firearms, some laws guide the ownership and usage of air rifles in the UK. For instance, individuals under the age of 14 can only use air rifles on private property with permission from the owner of said property. However, they cannot own, rent or receive air rifles as a gift. Furthermore, they must be supervised by someone who is 21 years or older.

Individuals within 14-17 years see the above rule loosen a little for them. They can borrow an air rifle with ammunition, and they can fire the weapon on private property as long as they have permission from the landowner. What they cannot do is receive an air rifle as a gift or purchase one. However, they can carry the weapon in public as long as they have supervision from someone who is at least 21 years old.

For individuals who are 18 or older, there are no restrictions on buying or owning an air rifle. However, a permit is needed before the weapon can be fired. 

Basic Etiquette

It is considered basic firearms etiquette to carry your gun in a gun cover whenever you are in a public place. That, and to make sure it is not cocked. Also, before firing your weapon on private property, make sure you have the property owner’s permission. Firing on private property, or in public for that matter can lead to serious legal implications. Furthermore, firearm wielders are expected to understand the possibility of a ricochet and discharge their firearm with that possibility in mind.

It is also considered basic etiquette to be responsible for your air gun at all times, to secure its location at all times, and prevent it from being used by others without your permission, especially by persons under the age of 18. Not taking the necessary precautions to prevent this from happening can lead to legal implications.

Locations and Boundaries

Although you may fire your weapon in places where you have received permission to do so, you are not allowed to fire any projectile beyond the lands to which you have been given permission. Doing so is considered a punishable offense under the law, even if the shooter is only 14. In this scenario, the supervising adult will be held accountable for the teenager’s actions. 

In addition, it is illegal to fire any kind of weapon within 50 feet of the center of a highway. If bystanders or other road users are harmed as a result, the offender will be prosecuted.

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