The Air Weapon and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015 was introduced on the 31 December 2016.
If you wish to purchase or acquire any air weapon in Scotland after that date you must now obtain an Air Weapon Certificate or Air Weapon Permit.
Possession of an air weapon without lawful authority is now an offence under Section 2(1) of the Air Weapon and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015.
Access full guidance on the Air Weapon and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015, including exemptions to the Act.
For frequently asked questions in relation to Air Weapon Licensing visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.
How do I apply for an Air Weapon Certificate?
Any person wishing to apply for an air weapon certificate can do so by downloading application form AWL1 from this site.
Form AWL1 should be typed and submitted by email where possible, digital signatures can be used.
Forms should submitted by email to your local Firearms Licensing processing centre email address details can be found on our main Firearms and Explosives Licensing page under related documents.
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. This would have the new air weapon certificate expire in line with their existing firearm or shotgun certificates.
If you are aged 14 and over (but under 18 years of age), and are not a member of an approved club, you will require to apply for an air weapon certificate. You'll need to complete form AWL-1 and have a parent or guardian consent (sign) your application.
If successful, this certificate will take you to your 18th birthday. At this time you will need to re-apply for an air weapon certificate. This will remove some restrictions present for those under 18 (you cannot purchase, hire, accept as a gift or own an air weapon in your own right).
The fee to be paid will be pro-rata, dependent on the age at which you apply. Relevant fees can be found below.
Existing certificate holders will be notified in writing 16 weeks prior to the expiry of their existing certificate(s).
Your enquiry will be allocated to a local Firearms Enquiry Officer who will confirm your intention to renew and make arrangements to carryout enquiries.
It is important to note that once completed, application (form AWL 1) should not be sent to Police Scotland. A Firearms Enquiry Officer will advise you on how your paperwork should be received by us.
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.
Failure to do so may delay the progress of your application or indeed may result in your application being returned to you.
Section 9 and 10 of the AWL1 application form are in relation to relevant medical conditions.
Relevant medical conditions which may affect a person’s ability to safely possess and use air weapons are not exhaustive. They include:
- Acute Stress Reaction or an acute reaction to the stress caused by a trauma
- Suicidal thoughts or self-harm
- Depression or anxiety
- 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 your local Firearm and Explosives Licensing Department.
Section 11 needs you to disclose previous convictions. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act does not apply. Therefore ALL previous convictions should be disclosed (including Road Traffic Offences) no matter the passage of time.
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. This is 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 be enough. Whilst this prevents the weapon from being fired it does not prevent unauthorised possession.
What if I am unsuccessful?
If your application is unsuccessful you will be informed by letter of the reason. There will be no refund of the application fee if this is the case. You can appeal the decision.
Variations (Changes To Your Certificate)
If you need any changes to your Air Weapon Certificate after it has been granted you must complete form AWL-4 and pay a fee of £20.
This fee is payable on each occasion during the duration of your certificate that you wish to change; Your Name, Address or good reason for use (pest control, target shooting etc).
You must return your Air Weapon Certificate alongside your completed AWL4 to your local processing centre who will post your new Certificate to you.
If you are aged 18 or over and hold a valid firearm and/or shotgun certificate issued in England or Wales that began before the 30th of December 2016, you won’t need a separate certificate to own or use air weapons while in Scotland.
You can continue to use and possess your air weapons until such times as they expire.
People who are not shotgun or firearm certificate holders or whose certificates were granted or renewed on or after 31 December 2016, will need to apply and possess a visitor’s permit or a full air weapon certificate before bringing their air weapons into Scotland.
Air weapon visitor permits can be valid for a period no longer than 12 months. On applying for this you must specify the exact dates (if known) during which you will be travelling to/from Scotland.
You will have to note that in Scotland, you would need an air weapon certificate or visitor’s permit to purchase an air weapon and walk out the shop with it.
To purchase, you could apply for a visitor’s permit, which would give you this option.
You can buy an air weapon from a Registered Firearms Dealer and have the weapon sent directly to your home country without requiring a permit.
You can find information on fees and the relevant application forms here.
Recreational Shooting/Organised Events
The term “recreational shooting facility” does not apply to an approved air weapon club.
It is described as:
- A miniature rifle range or a shooting gallery at which air weapons are used; or
- A facility for combat games which involve using an air weapon, which is operated with a view to making a profit.
Any person who runs a recreational shooting facility of this type, whether it is a permanent feature, such as a combat games site, or a temporary or travelling stall at a show or gala, must be licensed to use, possess, purchase or acquire air weapons.
They should, therefore, hold or ensure that the individual responsible for the management and operation of the facility holds an air weapon certificate.
At all times that the facility is in use, the operator must display the certificate (or a copy of it) prominently on the facility so it can be read by anyone considering whether to use air guns at the facility.
Section 17 of the Air Weapons and Licensing Scotland Act 2015 provides for an event permit.
Where an organiser wants 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.
This is 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, may compete without requiring an air weapon certificate. Application can be made by the organiser, or a person otherwise responsible for the event, using Form AWL-5.
The application should contain full details of the event, the types of uses for air weapons and the land on which shooting will take place.
In many cases, the police may already be aware of the event taking place. However, they will wish to carry out basic background checks to ensure that appropriate safety is in place for the event.
They'll also want to see 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. 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.
Air weapon application forms and fees
The following are the application forms relating to air weapons. Please ensure you download and complete the correct form for your requirements.
Application forms can be found at the bottom of the page.
- Form AWL1 – Application for the Grant or Renewal of an Air Weapon Certificate
- Form AWL2 – Application for the Grant of an Air Weapon Police Permit
- Form AWL3 – Application for the Grant of an Air Weapon Visitor Permit
- Form AWL4 – Application for the Variation of an Air Weapon Certificate or Permit
- Form AWL5 – Application for the Grant of an Air Weapon Event Permit
- Form AWL6 – Application for the Grant or Renewal of an Air Weapon Club Approval
- Form AWL7 – Application for the Variation of an Air Weapon Club Approval.
Please make sure that each application form is completed in accordance with the guidance attached to it. Failure to do so may result in your application being delayed.
The relevant fees for each application form can be found in the table below. Once completed, please send to your local processing centre for progression.
Air Weapon certificate: Grant (over 18)
Air Weapon certificate: Grant (applicant aged 17)
Air Weapon certificate: Grant (applicant aged 16)
Air Weapon certificate: Grant (applicant aged 15)
Air Weapon certificate: Grant (applicant aged 14)
Air Weapon certificate: Renewal
Air Weapon Variation (change of address)
Air Weapon Visitor Permit: Individual
Air Weapon Visitor Permit: Group (2 to 20 qualifying visitors)
Air Weapon Event Permit
Air Weapon Club approval: Grant
Air Weapon Club approval: Renewal
Air Weapon Police Permit
- Air Weapons Form AWL 1 (PDF)
- Air Weapons Form AWL 2 (PDF)
- Air Weapons Form AWL 3 (PDF)
- Air Weapons Form AWL 4 (PDF)
- Air Weapons Form AWL 5 (PDF)
- Air Weapons Form AWL 6 (PDF)
- Air Weapons Form AWL 7 (PDF)