License an air weapon

Last updated: 13 April 2017

If you use or own an air weapon, you need to license it by 31 December 2016, as part of new laws.

From that date it'll be an offence to own or use an air weapon without the proper certificate or permit. This includes buying an air weapon, someone buying it for you or simply having an air weapon in your possession.

Exemptions may apply (this means you don't need a licence) 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
  • using a recreational shooting facility

If you want to know more about the exemptions from needing an air weapons licence, visit

Anyone found guilty of committing an offence under the Act could face a fine or, in some cases, imprisonment of up to 2 years.

When can I apply for a licence?

You can apply for your licence from Police Scotland from 1 July 2016.

Find out more about the application process on

If you hold an existing firearms or shot gun licence

You won't require a new licence until your existing one is due for renewal, unless you want to purchase a new air gun before that time.

If you don't want to license your air weapon

If you don't want to license your air weapon you can:

Age restrictions

You can't have an air weapon certificate if you're under 14. If you're over 14 but under 18 you can apply for a certificate but you can't buy, hire or own an air weapon.