The vast majority of those who will apply for an air weapons certificate will be law abiding citizens who plan on using their authorised air weapons to legitimately partake in their individual hobbies, sporting pursuits or for their employment.

The Police have a duty to carry out enquiries to ensure that a person does not receive authorisation to own or have access to an air weapon in such circumstances so as to be a danger to the public or themselves. The level of enquiry must be that which enables Police to satisfy themselves that they can make an informed decision as to the applicant’s suitability to hold an air weapons certificate.

HOW DO I APPLY FOR AN AIR WEAPON CERTIFICATE?

NEW GRANT

Any person wishing to apply for an air weapon certificate can do so by downloading an application form AWL-1 from this site.

The fee for an air weapon certificate is £72 for 5 years. Current firearm and shotgun certificate holders may apply for a co-terminus certificate at a cost of £5, which would have the new air weapon certificate expire in line with their existing firearm or shotgun certificates. Form AWL1 can be completed online; however, it will require to be downloaded/printed in order that it may be signed. Alternatively, send a stamped addressed A4 or A5 envelope, with a 1st class large letter stamp affixed to your local Firearm and Explosive Licensing Processing Centre.

When you have completed the form you should post it to the address provided above or take it to Police Scotland, along with two identical passport size photographs (one signed) and application fee if the option to pay online has not be taken.

Forms can be sent to:

ABERDEEN CITY
ABERDEENSHIRE
MORAY
ABERDEEN FIREARMS AND EXPLOSIVES LICENSING
Queen Street, Aberdeen, AB10 1ZA
TEL: 01224 306270
FAX: 01224 306013
Email
CLACKMANNANSHIRE
FALKIRK
STIRLING
FORTH VALLEY FIREARMS & EXPLOSIVES LICENSING
Falkirk Police Station, West Bridge Street, Falkirk, FK1 5AP
TEL: 01324 676283
Email
ANGUS
DUNDEE CITY
PERTH & KINROSS
DUNDEE FIREARMS & EXPLOSIVES LICENSING
PO Box 59, West Bell St, Dundee, DD1 9JU
TEL: 01382 596858
FAX: 01382 596859
Email
CITY OF EDINBURGH
EAST MID & WEST LOTHIAN
SCOTTISH BORDERS
EDINBURGH FIREARMS & EXPLOSIVES LICENSING
Fettes Ave, Edinburgh, EH14 1RB
TEL: 0131 311 3297/8
FAX: 0131 311 3064
Email
ARGYLL AND BUTE
NORTH,EAST & SOUTH AYRSHIRE
EAST & WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE
GLASGOW CITY
INVERCLYDE
NORTH & SOUTH LANARKSHIRE
RENFREWSHIRE & EAST RENFREWSHIRE
GLASGOW FIREARMS & EXPLOSIVES LICENSING
Clyde Gateway, 2 French Street, Glasgow, G40 4EH
TEL: 01786 895 580
FAX: 01786 895 599
Email
EILEAN SIAR
HIGHLAND
ORKNEY ISLANDS
SHETLAND ISLANDS
INVERNESS FIREARMS & EXPLOSIVES LICENSING
Old Perth Rd, Inverness, IV2 3SY
TEL: 01463 720484
FAX: 01464 720827
Email
FIFEGLENROTHES FIREARMS & EXPLOSIVES LICENSING
Detroit Rd, Glenrothes, KY6 2RJ
TEL: 01592 418424
FAX: 01592 418444
Email
DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY DUMFRIES FIREARMS & EXPLOSIVES LICENSING
Cornwall Mount, Dumfries, DG1 1PZ
TEL: 01387 242263
FAX: 01382 596859
Email


RENEWALS

Air Weapon Certificate holders will be reminded by letter that their certificate(s) is due for renewal 16 weeks in advance of their expiry. At this time, the certificate holder will be advised of the enquiry process and the next steps to be taken. At this time, details will be provided that will allow payment to be made directly into a dedicated Police Scotland Firearms Licensing bank account. This can be done online using the banks internet banking facility, or in person at any bank branch using the slip provided.

The fee for an air weapon certificate is £48 for 5 years. The certificate holder must complete a new application using AWL-1 on each occasion an Air Weapon certificate is to be issued and should be completed as soon as practicable to enable us to issue new certificates before the current one expire. This form can be downloaded HERE.

Renewal Applications for an Air Weapon Certificate should be made at least 6 weeks prior to expiry.

Police Scotland will make every effort to process late applications on time, however this cannot be guaranteed. If your renewal enquiry was not completed prior to expiry due to late submission of application, you MUST make alternative storage arrangements for your air weapons prior to that date.

To retain ownership of your air weapons after expiry of your air weapon certificate, the only two alternative storage arrangements would be:

  • Store your air weapon(s) with someone who has an Air Weapon Certificate.
  • Store your air weapon(s) with a Registered Firearms Dealer.

Form AWL1 can be completed online; however, it will require to be downloaded/printed in order that it may be signed. Alternatively, send a stamped addressed A4 or A5 envelope, with a 1st class large letter stamp affixed to your local Firearm and Explosive Licensing Processing Centre.

When you have completed the form you should post it to the address provided above or take it to Police Scotland, along with two identical passport size photographs (one signed) and application fee if the option to pay online has not be taken.

EXISTING FIREARM AND SHOTGUN CERTIFICATE HOLDERS

Current firearm and shotgun certificate holders may apply for a co-terminus certificate at a cost of £5, which would have the new air weapon certificate expire in line with their existing firearm or shotgun certificates.

The certificate holder must complete a new application using AWL1 on each occasion an Air Weapon certificate is to be issued. If this application is made outside your firearm or shotgun certificate renewal, follow the guidance provided above in respect of a new grant. Form AWL1 can be downloaded HERE.

If you are applying for an air weapon certificate at the time of your renewal application for your firearm or shotgun certificate. YOU MUST complete Form AWL1. Upon AWL1 application completion, this should be retained along with Form 201. It is important to note that once completed, the application should not be sent to Police Scotland. A Firearms Enquiry Officer will be in contact with you to make an appointment to attend your home address where they will collect your completed applications and photographs as part of the full enquiry into your renewal application.

Firearm and Shotgun Certificate holders will be reminded by letter that their certificate(s) is due for renewal 16 weeks in advance of their expiry. At this time, the certificate holder will be advised of the enquiry process and the next steps to be taken. At this time, details will be provided that will allow payment to be made directly into a dedicated Police Scotland Firearms Licensing bank account. This can be done online using the banks internet banking facility, or in person at any bank branch using the slip provided.

If you do not wish to renew your certificates please make contact with our office as soon as possible and we will provide advice and assistance.

COMPLETING THE APPLICATION FORM

You MUST read the accompanying notes BEFORE completing your application form. It is important that you complete all the necessary sections with as much information as possible as failure to do so may delay the progress of your application or indeed may result in your application being returned to you. The following sections of the application form are of particular importance:

Part A personal details.

Sections 9 and 10 seek information regarding certain medical conditions and it is particularly important that these are completed with as much information as possible as this may prevent the need for further contact with you or indeed your GP. You should note this not only relates to current medical conditions however also includes any historical medical conditions which may be relevant.

Relevant medical conditions which may affect a person’s ability to safely possess and use air weapons are not exhaustive, but do include:

  • Acute Stress Reaction or an acute reaction to the stress caused by a trauma
  • Suicidal thoughts or self-harm 
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Dementia
  • Mania, bipolar disorder or a psychotic illness
  • A personality disorder
  • A neurological condition: for example, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s or Huntington’s diseases, or epilepsy
  • Alcohol or drug related abuse
  • Any other mental or physical condition which you think may affect the safe possession of an air weapon 

If in doubt, contact the Air Weapon Licensing Department.

Section 11 requires you to disclose previous convictions. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act does not apply hence all previous convictions should be disclosed (including road traffic offences) no matter the passage of time.

Part B Air Weapon Use and Security

Section 14 seeks information regarding the storage and security of your air weapon. Unlike firearms and shotguns there is no requirement for a purpose built gun cabinet which is fixed to a wall. That said, it is important that air weapons are securely stored in order that access and possession cannot be gained by a person who is not authorised to possess the weapon. Examples of acceptable storage include

  • Locked in a cupboard where the certificate holder is the only person who has the key for access.
  • Fixed to the fabric of the building with a gun clamp.
  • Fixed to a rafter by means of a chain and padlock.

A trigger guard on its own would not suffice as whilst this prevents the weapon from being fired it does not prevent unauthorised possession.

Failure to complete any of the following section will result in the application not being progressed and returned to the applicant:

  • Part C Declaration
  • Part D Consent of parent or guardian if applicant under 18
  • Part E verification

WILL THE POLICE VISIT ME?

In the majority of occasions the police will be able to progress an application for an air weapon certificate without the requirement for a home visit providing all the necessary information is provided on the application form. If the police do plan to visit you, they will contact you and explain why they need to visit and arrange a suitable time to attend. Police may wish to visit the place where the weapons are used or stored if different to your home address.

If you refuse to allow police to attend, this may have an adverse effect on your application as they may need specific information and without it, they may be unable to progress your application.

HOW DO I KNOW IF LAND IS SAFE? /CAN I STILL DO PLINKING?

Land is not intrinsically “safe” or “unsafe” and any applicant should exercise discretion in deciding whether to shoot in particular circumstances. However, the police will wish to be satisfied as part of “good reason” that the land nominated is not clearly unsuitable for shooting air weapons. If it is deemed necessary that the land requires to be assessed for suitability, this will be undertaken by a police officer or Firearms Enquiry Officer (FEO). “Plinking” is a term often used by those who use air weapons and refers to informal target shooting undertaken at standard or non-standard targets, such as cans and bottles, often in built-up areas. If undertaken in a confined space such as a domestic garden it is incumbent on the shooter to consider if this can be done safely with a suitable backstop to prevent over-shots or ricochets and to provide evidence of this in support of their application. The applicant should be able to demonstrate to the Chief Constable that shooting can be undertaken safely in such circumstances. Shooting in areas to which the public have unrestricted access, or in communal gardens or similar areas is not acceptable. There has been no intention to introduce a complete ban on plinking, however on each occasion it must be considered in respect of the circumstances. You must ensure that no air weapon pellet goes beyond your land, whether it is directly fired or an accidental ricochet.

The determination of safe shooting will always rest with the applicant. It is their responsibility to ensure that the land is safe.

DO I HAVE TO TELL THE POLICE WHAT WEAPONS I HAVE?

No, unlike firearm and shotgun applications there is no requirement to itemise weapons. The number of air weapons you hold currently will not impact on your application. If you are granted an air weapon certificate this will cover the air weapons you have, though it must be noted that all air weapons must have the appropriate security levels attached to their possession.

WHAT IF I AM UNSUCCESSFUL IN MY APPLICATION?

If your application is unsuccessful you will be informed by letter of the reason for the refusal. There will be no refund of the application fee.

WHAT ARE CONDITIONS?

Conditions can be used for simple administrative purposes, such as a requirement to notify Police Scotland in certain circumstances, or to place restrictions on where, how or when a person might use their air weapons.

An air weapon certificate is issued subject to two statutory conditions, which appear on the front of the certificate underneath the actual authorisation. These conditions are;

  • That the holder of the certificate must sign it in ink, and,
  • Must, as soon as reasonably practicable, notify police of any change to the address specified on the certificate.

Police may attach further conditions as required. It is an offence to fail to comply with the conditions on a certificate so make sure you read and understand them before using your air weapon.

WHAT WOULD BE DEFINED AS GOOD REASON?

It is not possible to list every potential use which might be considered good reason to have an air weapon. However the Scottish Government believes that the following may be considered good reason, taking account of all the circumstances of the individual case.

  • Sporting purposes (including the safe shooting of live quarry)
  • Vermin and pest control
  • Target shooting (on private land or at an approved air weapon club)
  • Collections

If you are in doubt about completing any part of the form please contact your local Firearms and Explosives Licensing department on the contact numbers above.