On 31 December 2016 the Scottish Government introduced a new licensing system for most air weapons in Scotland.
The law is set out in Part 1 of the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015, which you can find here
This website sets out some of the main points of the legislation and answers many of the most frequently asked questions. It also provides more detailed guidance to the police and to air weapon users.
Applying for a certificate or permit
Applications for air weapon certificates or permits should be made to the Police Service of Scotland.
Application forms can be downloaded from the Police Scotland website. You can find them here:
The police will decide your application and deal with any questions you have about the process in detail. You can find more information about the process on the "How to Apply" page of this website.
Do I need an air weapon licence?
From 31 December 2016 anyone who wishes to use, possess, purchase or acquire an air weapon in Scotland will need to have a valid Air Weapon Certificate, or a temporary permit such as a Visitor Permit, unless they are otherwise exempt under the legislation.
The requirement applies to most air weapons with a muzzle energy exceeding 1 joule (0.74 ft/lbs), and up to 12ft/lbs (16.27 joules) for air rifles or air guns, or up to 6ft/lbs (8.13 joules) for an air pistol. There are some exceptions, for example for paintball guns or airsoft weapons.
More information can be found on this website and in our Guidance.
What does it cost?
The fee for a full 5 year certificate is £72.00.
Other fees apply for visitor and other types of permit, for people aged under 18, and for air weapons clubs seeking formal approval under the legislation.
The full table of fees is set out in regulations and can be found at:
Fees are payable at the time the application is made and are not refundable if your application is not granted.
Who is exempt from having a licence?
Exemptions may apply (this means you don't need a certificate) in certain situations, including if you're:
- a member of an air weapon club and only use a gun at the club or events linked to the club
- a member of a cadet corps and only use a gun for specific activities linked to the corps
- shooting at a recreational shooting facility
- a Registered Firearms Dealer
- a visitor to Scotland and you have the appropriate permit
If you want to know more about the exemptions from needing an air weapons certificate visit
What if I already have a firearm or shotgun certificate?
If you are aged 14 or over and held a valid firearm and/or shotgun certificate on the 31st of December 2016, you won’t need to apply for a separate air weapon certificate until your existing licence expires.
When you renew your existing certificate you can apply for a new air weapon certificate at the same time, and you can ask to have them aligned so that they will all expire on the same date. If you are aligning your certificates in this way you will pay a reduced fee of £5.00 for the air weapon certificate.
If you want to buy or otherwise acquire a new air weapon before your current certificate expires you will need to apply for an air weapon certificate. This means that you can show the firearms dealer that you are authorised to purchase an air weapon.