Section 17 of the Air Weapons and Licensing Scotland Act 2015 provides for an event permit. Where an organiser seeks to hold an event where air weapons will be used by attendees, an application can be made to the Chief Constable for the grant of an Event Permit to authorise those attending to borrow, hire, use and possess air weapons while engaging in the actual event activity without holding an air weapon certificate.
The intention is that people attending organised events, for example a fair or local gala, pony club event or bicycle biathlon, may compete without necessarily requiring an air weapon certificate. Application can be made by the organiser, or a person otherwise responsible for the event, using Form AWL5 as prescribed in the 2016 Regulations. The application should contain full details of the event, the types of uses for air weapons, the land on which shooting will take place, etc. In many cases, the police may already be aware of the event taking place, but they will wish to carry out basic background checks to ensure that appropriate safety is in place for the event, and that the applicant is a fit person to take responsibility of the use of air weapons.
As with other permits, the Chief Constable may attach conditions to the Event Permit if it is granted. Failure to comply with any conditions attached is an offence on the part of the organiser as the responsibility ultimately rests with them.
Individuals attending an authorised event will not require an air weapon certificate, taking advantage of one of the set exemptions set out in schedule 1 to the 2015 Act. If granted, the permit (or a copy of it) must be displayed prominently at the event so as to be capable of being read by any person attending the event. It is an offence for the organiser to fail to comply with this requirement without reasonable excuse.
AT OUR EVENTS, WE HAVE ALWAYS HAD A TARGET SHOOTING ELEMENT WITH AIR WEAPONS, CAN THIS CONTINUE?
Yes, Events like funfairs and gala days with air weapon ranges can also be approved.
From 31 December, Police Scotland will be able to issue an Event Permit allowing non-certificate holders to use air weapons at a specified time and place.
An individual responsible for organising the event should apply to Police Scotland on Forms AWL5 which will be available from this website from 1 July 2016.
DO I NEED TO HOLD AN AIR WEAPON CERTIFICATE TO HOLD AN EVENT?
No, but it would be advisable to have someone who holds an air weapon or firearm/shotgun certificate present during the event. This is because they will have some knowledge of safe weapon handling and can ensure security aspects are fully considered for the safe running of the event.
It must be noted that the granting of an event permit relates specifically to the obligations of the Chief Constable under Section 17 of the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015, and does not infer any liability for the safe operation of the event, which remains the responsibility of the organiser. The granting of the permit does not absolve the organiser from the requirement to obtain any other applicable permission, nor the need for adequate public liability insurance
AT EVENTS, DO ALL AIR WEAPONS USERS NEED TO BE SUPERVISED BY SOMEONE HOLDING A VALID AIR WEAPON CERTIFICATE OR RELEVANT FIREARM/SHOTGUN CERTIFICATE?
No, however it would be advisable to have someone who holds an air weapon or firearm/shotgun certificate, or someone who is knowledgeable in safe weapon handling, present. These considerations will assist in ensuring the event passes off smoothly and ensures security aspects are fully considered for the safe running of the event.
It must be remembered that no matter how well an event is organised, the human factor comes into play and any misuse of an air weapon can lead to tragic consequences.