Airguns

Support BASC’s campaign to ensure 14 to 17-year-olds can continue to use airguns unsupervised as is currently allowed under the Firearms Act 1968

The Issue

The Home Office firearms safety consultation, launched in November 2020, makes a range of proposals regarding storing and using certain firearms (you can read BASC’s views on the wider topics here).

Within the consultation the government proposes “to remove the exception that allows young persons who are at least 14 years of age to have unsupervised possession of airguns on private premises”. If enacted, this proposal will have serious ramifications for the wider shooting community.

Please note the consultation has now closed. 

BASC's view

BASC is fully opposed to this proposal on the grounds that there is no body of evidence to justify removing the exception.

Hundreds of thousands of youngsters aged 14–17 have used the exception perfectly safely on private premises. BASC is unaware of this allowance ever causing any significant trend in airgun abuse. We believe that a parent or guardian is best placed to determine whether their child is sufficiently responsible to be allowed access to an airgun, rather than a catch-all prohibition being imposed by the state.

If successful, the government will disadvantage younger generations who rely on airguns to learn to use firearms in a responsible manner. This includes trainee gamekeepers, agricultural pest controllers and sport shooters. You can read one Young Shot’s opinion on this proposal here

BASC actions

  • BASC responded in full to the consultation, raising our objection to this proposal as well as our evidence-based views on the other proposals. Click here to read the full response
  • BASC has already spoken out about the airgun restrictions in the national press and will continue to raise awareness and ensure our opposition to the proposal is heard following the consultation period. 
  • This proposal, among others, was discussed with the Home Office minister responsible, Kit Malthouse MP,  at BASC’s All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) meeting.
  • BASC has produced a dedicated brief on airguns that has been sent to a select group of MPs and Lords. 
  • BASC is working with a range of other stakeholders who will be impacted by this proposal. See here for our work with the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs.
  • BASC has engaged our Young Shots programme to ensure they are aware of the proposal and have the necessary resources to respond to the consultation and contact their local MPs.
"British Shooting acknowledge and fully support the proactive stance BASC are taking on the government proposals. These are proposals which could affect the future of our Olympic sport and prevent young talent emerging through our talent pathway programmes. We will continue to work with BASC as the consultation progresses. In what are already difficult times, our young athletes have found innovative ways of training safely at home, something in particular which is key to their growth whilst collective training is restricted. Working together with BASC, British Shooting are optimistic that an optimum solution can be found from this consultation."
Craig Dower
Rifle & Pistol Programme Manager (Olympic) at British Shooting
"This is an issue that will certainly affect our members, many of whom are already dealing with challenges due to the pandemic. We hope that together, BASC and NFYFC can have a positive influence on the outcome of the consultation."
Tom Pope
NFYFC Agriculture and Rural Issues chairman

Going forward

This page will continue to be updated as our campaign to protect 14 to 17-year-olds’ ability to use airguns unsupervised develops. Please continue to refer to it for the latest information.