Legal airgun issues

Started by Brutuz, December 22, 2008, 08:18:29 PM

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The legal definition of an air gun differs from country to country. There maybe minimum ages for possession and sales of both air guns and ammunition may be restricted. Some areas may require permits and background checks similar to those required for firearms possession.

Asia & Oceania

Australian law classifies air guns and BB guns as "Category A" firearms, placing them in the same class as break-action shotguns and rimfire rifles, requiring a licence for ownership.[citation needed] Anyone found in Australia possessing an unlicensed airsoft pistol faces the same charge as a person who unlawfully possesses a firearm. In many other areas of the world, however, air guns are not considered firearms and are not subject to regulation.

In Hong Kong, under the Firearms and Ammunition Ordinance (HK Laws. Chap 238), "an air rifle, air gun or air pistol from which any shot, bullet or missile can be discharged with a muzzle energy greater than 2 joules" is considererd as 'arms'. As such, a permit is required for possession which would otherwise be illegal and carries penalties up to a fine of $100000 and 14 years in jail.

In Japan, any air gun that fires a metallic projectile is restricted as a firearm, so only Airsoft-type guns are readily available.



In Germany, air guns producing a muzzle energy up to 7.5 joule (J) can be owned by persons from the age of 18 years and freely acquired, provided they comply with the "F-in-pentagon-mark" that indicates projectiles fired do not exceed 7.5 J kinetic energy. For carrying air guns in public places an arms permit is necessary. The transportation of unloaded and cased air guns to a shooting range is permitted as is shooting air guns on private land.

When shooting with air guns it must be assured the projectiles can not leave the shooting area (WaffG, Section 12 (exemption of permit requirements), subsection (4), 1a. The minimum age for air gun shooting under adult supervision in Germany is 12 years (or 10 years if an exceptional provision is granted by the appropriate German authorities).

For the acquisition of weapons exceeding 7.5 J, so-called long range air guns, according to German law a purchase authorization is needed. Such an authorization can only be issued with a valid reason to acquire such a gun, and if the owner has mastered adequate handling skills as audited by the appropriate German authorities.

A purchase authorization is not required for air guns, manufactued and introduced onto the market before 1 January 1970 in Germany or before 2 April 1991 on the territory of the former East Germany (WaffG, Appendix 2, Section 1, Subsection 2, 1.2); they can, regardless of their muzzle energy and/or the presence of an "F-in-pentagon-mark", be freely acquired and possessed.

The storage requirements for firearms also applies to air guns.


In Italy, any mechanism that produces a muzzle energy higher than 1 Joule and lower than 7,5 Joules is considered a "Low-power air gun"; the sale of such instruments is open to anyone over 18 years of age without license or registration, but it can take place only in authorized gun shops where the owner must require the purchaser to provide his ID Card as a proof of age. Any device developing a muzzle energy equal to, or higher than, 7.5 Joules is considered an "High-power air gun", requiring Police licensing and registration for purchase and detention just like any firearm. Bows, crossbows and similar are exempt from this rule. The muzzle energy of such devices is certified by a governance office called "Banco di Prova".[citation needed] Air guns developing less than 1 Joule of muzzle energy are categorized as Airsoft, which are considered by law as toys, with no restriction whatsoever to their trade, except that they can never be modified to achieve a higher muzzle energy and must be only able to shoot 6mm plastic pellets.


In the Netherlands, air guns can be owned by persons from the age of 18 years and freely acquired. Carrying air guns in public and the possession of air guns (and toy guns) that resemble firearms are prohibited. Air guns are allowed to be stored in private homes but must be kept unavailable for persons under 18. Under adult supervision under 18 year olds are however allowed to practice air gun shooting.


Finland is contemplating mandatory licensing of high powered airguns.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, for example, air pistols generating more than 6 ftÃ,·lbf (8.1 J) or air rifles generating more than 12 ftÃ,·lbf (16.2 J) of energy are considered firearms.

In the UK, Brocock Air Cartridge System air guns, which use a pre-charged, single shot air cartridge (similar in size to a .38 Special cartridge) were banned after some pistols recovered by the police, were found to have been converted by criminals making them capable of firing rimfire ammunition or even .38 Special ammunition.

Due to further legislative restrictions in the UK, the online or mail-order sales of new air guns must be finalised "face-to-face", either at the retail store of purchase or with a Registered Firearms Dealer (where an item may be shipped and the transfer completed). The sale and transfer of second-hand airguns is not affected by these new restrictions.

It is an offence to fire an airgun within 50 feet of the centre of a public highway, If by doing so you cause any member of the public using that highway to be injured, interrupted or endangered. This applies even if you are on private property adjacent the highway. Public highways include roads, bridleways and public footpaths.

North America

In Canada, air guns with a muzzle velocity of over 500 ft/s (150 m/s) and a muzzle energy in excess of 4.2 ftÃ,·lbf (5.7 J) are classified as firearms and must be registered, transported, stored, and used as such. Some air guns are prohibited in Canada, prohibited air guns owned before December 1, 1998 are grandfathered. Persons committing a crime in Canada with an air gun face the same penalties as if they had committed the crime with a regular firearm.

Although it is illegal for U.S. cities to do so, some have attempted to restrict air gun sales and possession, usually regardless of the muzzle energy. These include: New York, New York; Camden and Newark, New Jersey; Michigan; Chicago and Morton Grove, Illinois; San Francisco, California; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

My Crosman pistols / My non-crosman collection /
I am also active on the UK Chinese Airgun Forum & sometimes on the GTA as well


UK Airgun Law

Airguns in the UK are subject to the firearms acts, under the Firearms (Dangerous air weapons) rules 1969 they are classified as low powered Air Weapons and as such they are restricted to a maximum power of 12 foot pounds energy for a rifle and 6 foot pounds energy for a pistol. Air rifles above 12ft/lbs are classified as a Section 1 Firearm and requires a licence (FAC) otherwise known as a firearms certificate, and an Air pistol above 6ftlb is a prohibited weapon.

UK Legal Limit
To calculate the power of an airgun you need to use a chronograph to measure the speed of the pellet (in feet per second) when fired, and you need to know the weight of the pellet in grains. Once you have that information you perform the following calculation:- speed(ft/sec) X speed(ft/sec) X weight(grains) 450240
This gives you the result in foot pounds force (ftlb).
As mentioned the legal maximum for an unlicensed air rifle is 12 ftlb which from changing round the above formula, gives the approximate values as follows:-
A .22 pellet weighing 14.4 grains, maximum permissible speed is 612 ft/sec
A .177 pellet weighing 7.9 grains, maximum permissible speed is 826 ft/sec
The corresponding figures for a pistol are 433 ft/sec for a .22 and 584 ft/sec for a .177
The pellet weights used in the above calculation are typical weights for the sizes of pellet but you must always check the actual weight of your pellet before performing your own calculation.

Airgun Quarry
The following pests are considered suitable for controlling using a sub-12 ftlb Airgun.
BIRDS: (covered by the open general licences) crows, rooks, jackdaws, magpies, jays, wood pigeon, collared doves, and feral pigeons.
MAMMALS: brown rats, grey squirrels, stoats, mink and rabbits.
information sheet on general licences for the control of certain bird species in the UK please click here to read
Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
All bird and animals are protected by law. Certain species are classified as pests or vermin and only these species can be legitimately shot and then only by authorised persons. An Authorised Person is someone who has the proper permission from the land owner to control pests on that land.

Offence Penalties
The Penalties for breaking current UK firearms laws with Airguns are as follows:-
Carrying a loaded Air-weapon in a public place 6 months imprisonment and / or Ã,£5,000 fine.
Trespassing with an air weapon 3 months imprisonment and / or Ã,£2,500 fine.
Trespassing on private land with an air weapon 3 months imprisonment and / or Ã,£2,500 fine.
Possessing or using an air weapon if sentenced to 3 months or more in custody 3 months imprisonment and / or Ã,£2,500 fine.
In addition if original sentence up to 3 years 5 year ban on use of firearms.
Or if for 3 years or more Life ban on use of firearms.
Killing or injuring any bird or protected animal unless authorised Ã,£5,000 fine.
Firing an air weapon within 15m / 50ft of a public highway Ã,£1,000 fine.
Selling or hiring air weapon or ammunition to person under 17 6 months imprisonment and / or Ã,£5,000 fine.
Making a gift of air weapon or ammunition to person under 14 Ã,£1,000 fine.
Having air weapon or ammunition with intent to damage property 10 years imprisonment.
Having air weapon with intent to endanger life Life imprisonment and / or appropriate fine.
Using air weapon to resist or prevent arrest Life imprisonment and / or appropriate fine.
Threatening others with an air weapon (even if unloaded) to cause them to fear unlawful violence 10 years imprisonment and / or appropriate fine.
Not forgetting the chance of being shot and killed by the police should you not obey instructions when challenged by them, they cannot tell if you have just an airgun or a more lethal firearm so will treat all arms as lethal and respond accordingly.

Civil Law
It should be born in mind by every airgun shooter that the unexpected could happen and they could find themselves facing a civil action for damage to property or even injury to persons or livestock. Every airgun shooter should have Third Party Public Liability Insurance before venturing out of doors, and joining one of the bodies representing shooters interests is the best way to achieve this.

Following the enactment of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006, listed below are the current regulations relating to the purchase, ownership, sale and possession of airguns and ammunition.

Persons under the age of 14:
1) No person under the age of 14 may purchase, hire or be given an airgun or ammunition.
2) A person under the age of 14 must at all times when shooting be supervised by a person over the age of 21.

Persons over the age of 14 but under 18:
1) No person under the age of 18 may purchase, hire or be given an airgun or ammunition.
2) A person in this age group may shoot unsupervised on private land with the permission of the landowner but must be supervised by somebody over the age of 21 if in a public place.
It should be noted that this means that a person aged seventeen and a half who may have a driving licence cannot take an air rifle from home to his club to shoot unless the gun is possessed by somebody over the age of eighteen or the seventeen and a half-year old is supervised by a person over the age of twenty-one.

Persons over the age of 18:
A person over the age of eighteen can buy an airgun and pellets and use them unsupervised.

General Restrictions:
1) It is an offence to have an airgun in a public place "without good reason", the proof being the responsibility of the possessor.
2) It is an offence to discharge a firearm within fifty feet of the centre of a highway.
3) When shooting over private land it is an offence for the pellet to go beyond the boundary of the premises on which the gun is being used unless there is permission from the adjoining landowner.
4) Persons who by way of trade deal in airguns, pressure bearing parts or component parts must be a Registered Firearms Dealer and any transaction must be face-to-face. Ammunition for airguns may continue to be sold by post.

1) It is not an offence for a person to have with him an airgun or ammunition whilst being a member of a Home Office Approved Club in connection with target practice.
2) Air rifles with a muzzle energy in excess of 12 foot pounds (which require licensing) are not subject to the general restrictions listed above.
3) An "airgun" with the kinetic energy of less than one joule is considered a toy and is therefore not covered by the above restrictions but may be considered a realistic imitation firearm (if it looks like a gun). The sale of realistic imitation firearms is now banned with one or two minor exceptions, mainly for historical re-enactment, museums and television/film/theatrical performances or as a recognized member of an airsoft site affiliated to the Association of British AirSoft.

My Crosman pistols / My non-crosman collection /
I am also active on the UK Chinese Airgun Forum & sometimes on the GTA as well


Categorieën wapens

De Wet wapens en munitie onderscheidt vier categorieën wapens.

Het gaat om de volgende categorieën:

    * Categorie I dit zijn wapens in deze categorie niet zijnde vuurwapens, waarvan de aanwezigheid onder geen enkele omstandigheid kan worden aanvaard.

Bijv: ballistische messen, ploertendoders, wurgstokjes, boksbeugels, replica's van vuurwapens.

    * Categorie II hiertoe behoren wapens waarvan het gebruik en het bezit is voorbehouden aan overheidsinstanties, als de krijgsmacht en de politie.

Bijv. automatische vuurwapens, pepperspray, stroomstootwapens, etc.

    * Categorie III hier worden de wapens genoemd waarvan ongecontroleerd bezit ongewenst is - Vergunningstelsel.

Bijv. wapens ten behoeve van jagers, schietverenigingen etc.

    * Categorie IV hiertoe behoren de wapens die men thuis mag hebben, maar waarvan het verboden is deze publiekelijk te dragen, tevens mogen deze wapens niet voorhanden zijn aan personen onder de 18 jaar. Voor luchtwapens geldt ook de regel dat ze geen gelijkenis mogen hebben met een vuurwapen, anders vallen ze onder Categorie 1.

Bijv: degens, zwaarden, sabels, wapenstokken, kruisbogen, harpoen, paintballmarkers, luchtwapens.

Sinds 15 november 2000 zijn de straffen voor illegaal wapenbezit en illegale wapenhandel fors verhoogd. Zo is bijvoorbeeld:

    * De maximum straf voor het illegaal voorhanden hebben van een stiletto negen maanden gevangenisstraf of een geldboete van € 4500,-. Tot 1 februari 2006 was het maximum drie maanden gevangenisstraf.
    * De maximum straf voor het illegaal voorhanden hebben van een geweer een gevangenisstraf van vier jaar of een geldboete van € 45.000,-.
    * De maximum straf voor het beroepsmatig illegaal handelen in pistolen acht jaar gevangenisstraf of een geldboete van € 45.000,-.


!! overzicht illegale wapens !!
My Crosman pistols / My non-crosman collection /
I am also active on the UK Chinese Airgun Forum & sometimes on the GTA as well