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UK Laws on BB Guns

A BB gun should never be considered a toy. Even though the projectile (a BB or a pellet) is not launched by gunpowder, it can still inflict injury. Because of safety issues the United Kingdom has laws in place concerning the sale, transportation, and usage of BB guns. If you own or are contemplating buying one in the UK, not knowing the laws could land you in a lot of trouble.

Classes of Weapons

A BB gun is defined as a low power air weapon, also called an airsoft gun or an airgun. To fall under this category, air rifles cannot exert more than 12 foot lbs. of muzzle energy and air pistols cannot exert more than 6 foot lbs. of muzzle energy. Guns over that are classified as a Section 1 firearms, requiring a firearms certificate (FAC) and a different set of laws which are outside the scope of BB guns.

Age Laws

Persons under 14 years old cannot be given or buy a low power air weapon. When shooting another person's gun he must be supervised at all times by person at least 21 years old. Older users, 14 to 18 years old, can shoot unsupervised on private land (with the landowner's permission). If shooting on public lands, she must be supervised by a person at least 21 years old. Persons 14 to 18 years old cannot purchase, or be given, a low power air gun but persons 18 to 21 years old can legally buy a low power air gun.

Usage Laws

No person will have a low powered air gun in a public place without good cause. An example of a good cause is transporting the gun to and from a target range. If shooting on private land, the projectile cannot enter into another person's land without the other landowner's permission. Also, a person must be at least 50 feet (15 metres) away from the centre of a main road before shooting the gun.

Selling Guns or Parts

A person must be a registered arms dealer to sell BB guns or parts. All transactions must be in person. BBs and ammunition, however, can be sold through mail-order.

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About the Author

Tony Oldhand has been technical writing since 1995. He has worked in the skilled trades and diversified into Human Services in 1998, working with the developmentally disabled. He is also heavily involved in auto restoration and in the do-it-yourself sector of craftsman trades. Oldhand has an associate degree in electronics and has studied management at the State University of New York.