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Firearms licensing for young people

Firearms and shotgun licensing restrictions apply to anyone under 18 years old, this includes the use and possession of firearms and shotguns.

Under 18

If you are under 18, you can:

  • receive a gift of a shotgun or section 1 firearm, if you hold the appropriate certificate
  • possess an assembled shot gun – see exceptions 1-6

If you are under 18, you cannot:

  • purchase any firearm or ammunition
  • possess a section 1 firearm – see exceptions 1-6
  • possess an air weapon – see exceptions 1-6
  • receive an air weapon as a gift
Under 17

If you are under 17, you can:

  • receive a gift of a shotgun or section 1 firearm, if you hold the appropriate certificate
  • possess assembled shotgun – see exceptions 1-6

If you are under 17, you cannot:

  • purchase any firearm or ammunition
  • possess a section 1 firearm – see exceptions 1-6
  • possess an air weapon – see exceptions 2, 3, 4 and 6
  • receive an air weapon as a gift
Under 15

If you are under 15, you can:

  • receive a gift of a section 1 firearm, if you hold the appropriate certificate

If you are under 15, you cannot:

  • purchase any firearm or ammunition
  • possess a section 1 firearm – see exceptions 1-6
  • possess an assembled shot gun – see exceptions 4 and 5
  • receive a shotgun as a gift
  • possess air weapons – see exceptions 2, 3, 4 and 6
  • receive an air weapon as a gift
Under 14

If you are under 14, you cannot:

  • purchase any firearm or ammunition
  • possess a section 1 firearm –  see exceptions 1, 2 and 3
  • receive a gift of a section 1 firearm
  • possess an assembled shot gun –  see exceptions 4 and 5
  • receive a shotgun as a gift
  • possess air weapons – see exceptions 2, 3, 4 and 6
  • receive an air weapon as a gift

Exceptions to licensing restrictions

  1. Carry for sporting purpose
  2. Rifle/Pistol Club or Cadet Corps
  3. Miniature rifle range
  4. Under supervision of someone 21 years or over
  5. Secure gun cover
  6. On private land with the consent of the occupier

The rules for young people can be found in the Home Office Guide on Firearms Licencing Law 2016 (PDF).

For more information on firearms licensing for young people, contact Firearms Licensing.

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