Age restrictions

Young Persons

From 28th July 2010 the Firearms Acts (Amendment) Regulations 2010 make a key change to the age at which a person may purchase or hire firearms, shot guns and ammunition. A person who is under 18 years of age may not purchase or hire any firearms, shot guns or ammunition. This change has been brought about by EEC Directive 2008/51/EC which regularises the ages for purchase of firearms within the EU.

  Under 18 Under 15 Under 14
Purchase or hire any firearm (including shotguns and air weapons) or ammunition No No No
Possess a Section 1 firearm and ammunition Yes Yes No (see exceptions 1, 2 & 3 below)
Receive a Section 1 firearm and ammunition as a gift Yes Yes No
Possess assembled shot gun and ammunition Yes No (see exceptions 1, 4 & 5 below) No (see exceptions 1, 4 & 5 below)
Receive a shot gun as a gift Yes No No
Possess an air weapon No (see exceptions 1, 2, 3, 4 & 6 below) No (see exceptions 1,2,3, 4 & 6 below) No (see exceptions 1,2, 3 & 4 below)
Receive an air weapon as a gift No No No
Possess an air weapon in a public place No (see exceptions 1, 2,3 & 4 below) No (see exceptions 1, 2,3 & 4 below) No (see exceptions 1, 2,3 & 4 below)

Some young shotgun and firearm certificate holders have a notice on their certificates stating that they cannot purchase shot guns until they attain the age of 17years. This has now been increased to 18 years of age and all such certificate holders have received a letter explaining the change in the law and how it affects them.

Exceptions:

  1. If carrying on behalf of the certificate holder (who is aged 18 years or over) and for the certificate holders sporting purposes only.
  2. When part of an approved club or cadet corps.
  3. On a Miniature Rifle Range.
  4. Under the supervision of someone over 21 years old.
  5. When the shotgun is in a securely fastened gun cover so that it cannot be fired
  6. Unless on private property with the permission of the land owner. It is an offence for someone under this exception to fire any missile beyond the boundary of the premises unless with permission of the adjacent landowner.