Young People & Firearms




Note: The law has recently changed due to “The Firearms (Amendment) Regulations 2010”
          – this document has been amended to incorporate the age changes given by the regulations.

Under 14 years of Age

No-one under the age of 14 may use a Section 1 Firearm except for target shooting as a member of a Home Office approved rifle club; or at a shooting gallery where no rifles larger than .23 inch calibre are used (e.g. at Fairs).

14 to 17 Years of Age

At the age of 14 a person may hold a firearm certificate and may then be given firearms and ammunition within the conditions on the certificate.

The law does not set a minimum age at which the holder of a firearm certificate may shoot without adult supervision. That is left to the discretion of the parent or guardian.

18 and Over

On reaching the age of 18, the holder of a firearm certificate may hire or purchase firearms and ammunition in accordance with the conditions on that certificate.


The above act made it lawful for someone of, or over, the age of 17 to borrow a rifle from the occupier of private land and use it, on that land, in the presence of the occupier but only under the conditions on that certificate.  Under these circumstances the rifle can also be borrowed from a “servant of the occupier”, for example a gamekeeper. “In the presence of” is taken to mean “within sight and earshot”.

NEW – The age for borrowing was not increased to 18 years however “The Firearms (Amendment) Regulations 2010” now requires the lending occupier or servant must be 18 or over when lending to 17 year olds.

For borrowers who are 18 years or older, the lender may be of any age providing they are an occupier or servant of an occupier and hold a firearm certificate for the rifle being lent under the provisions of the estate rifle provision. See BASC’s fact sheet called “Borrowing Rifles” available at