Air weapons must be held on a firearms certificate in the following circumstances:
- Where an air rifle has a muzzle energy of more than 12 ft lbs
- Where an air pistol has a muzzle energy of more than 6 ft. lbs. "(In addition, because this type of firearm is classified as a prohibited weapon under Section 5 of the Firearms Act, it also needs the authority of the Secretary of State for the Home Office to possess it.)
Any air weapon with a muzzle energy below these levels may be held without a licence.
Any air rifle, air gun or air pistol that uses, or is designed or adapted for use with a self-contained gas cartridge system is prohibited. It is an offence to manufacture, sell, purchase, transfer or acquire such a weapon.
It is an offence, punishable by a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 10 years imprisonment, to possess a self-contained gas cartridge weapon without the necessary firearm certificate to possess one.
Under 14 years
A person under 14 may use an air gun under the supervision of a person aged 21 or over, on private premises with the consent of the occupier of those premises.
From 14 years to 17 years
A person aged 14 –16 may borrow an air gun from a person aged 18 or over and use it on private property without supervision. A person aged 14 to 17 may only carry an air gun in a public place if under the supervision of someone aged 21 or over and there is a good reason for doing so.
Under 18 years
Anyone under the age of 18 may borrow and use an air gun for target practice as a member of an approved club, or at a shooting gallery for air guns or miniature rifles.