This brief summary of the law as it relates to minors who shoot represents the bare minimum that shooting coaches and their charges should know. These notes should however be treated as no more than guides to a complex subject. Further advice may be had by contacting your police firearms licensing department or any of the shooting organisations such as the NSRA, NRA or BASC.
1 . It is an offence for a person under the age of 18 to buy or hire any firearm or ammunition. This includes air weapons (air rifles and air pistols) and their pellets .
2. It is an offence to give or to part with possession of a firearm (including air rifles or air pistols) to a person under 18, except in certain circumstances (see below.) It is therefore not possible in law for a parent to gift an air rifle or pistol to a child under 18 . Any such rifle or pistol remains the property of the parent, to be used according to exemptions (see 4(b) below)
3. A person over 14 but under 18 may use a firearm without supervision, but may not buy or hire one.
4. A person under 14 may not handle or use any firearm, except:
a) At a school or other Home Office Approved club, at a miniature rifle range/gallery, or as a member of a cadet corps.
b) With respect to air weapons only, a child under 14 may not use an air rifle or air pistol without supervision of a person of or over the age of 21.
5. The 14-18 age range may shoot unaccompanied on private premises only where they have permission.
6. Pellets fired from an air weapon on land where one has permission to shoot must not travel beyond the boundaries of that land.
7. A person under 18 may not possess an air rifle or air pistol in a public place unless supervised by someone of 21 years or older.
8. Young people need a personal firearm certificate if they wish to shoot a cartridge rifle anywhere other than on a range. A firearm certificate can only be obtained from the age of 14
9. No firearm certificate is required for an air rifle with a muzzle energy not exceeding 12 Ft/Lbs or an air pistol with a muzzle energy not exceeding 6 Ft/Lbs.
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