Are BB Guns illegal in the UK? (Legal Consequences)

Credit: CBC

London (Parliament Politics Magazine) – BB guns are the type of guns that fire plastic or aluminium balls by using different methods. The BB guns use compressed air or an electrical system which may or may not be firearms. The soft air type of gun which is little power but is toy-like is not illegal in the UK.

 It is low-powered and is just designed to fire plastic/Aluminium balls. However, there are more powerful BB guns that can be considered firearms. Holding such BB guns can land you in trouble and you will need a valid firearms certificate to own this type of BB gun.

Are BB Guns Illegal In The UK?

BB guns are not illegal in the UK but it depends on what type of BB gun you own. There are also some conditions that you need to consider to using a BB gun. UK has set a certain law for the use of BB guns in the UK. It is important to understand the differences between the different types of bb. 

The color of the BB gun and other factors may make it harmful or harmless. It may not be a prohibited weapon if it is not powerful enough to harm someone. However, some BB guns can hit someone hard and can cause injury. Soft BB guns that resemble toy guns are not illegal in the UK. BB guns that are too powerful cannot be classified as toy guns.

Are BB Guns Considered Toys?

Most parents in the UK want to know whether BB guns are considered toys or not. Many young children in the UK possess toy guns. There is a difference in the design of every gun and depending on various factors the BB gun is considered to be harmful or harmless. It is also important to use your BB gun with extra care. 

BB guns can be in the possession of young children. The shape and appearance of the gun say a lot about it. Most BB guns use plastic or Aluminium pellets, and they have a low power rating. They cannot be even compared to the average type of air weapon.

In certain circumstances, air weapons can be powerful enough to injure, wound, or even kill. Thus, these types of offensive weapons can fit within the definition of a firearm. As a rule, the power is not classified in the section 1 firearm rule. But, most air weapon guns that are about 150 times more powerful than the ‘toy-like’ soft BB gun are banned in the UK.

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Legal Consequences Of Owning A BB Gun In The UK

BB guns are legal in the UK but you need to follow some legislation that concerns them. The Firearms Act of 1968 states, that an imitation firearm that has the appearance of being a firearm, and discharges a bullet or another missile should be used with care.

BB guns can fall under this description, so the following laws must be followed by the BB Guns owners:

  • The minimum age to buy or use a BB gun is 18 years.
  • An adult should always be there to supervise children aged between 12 to 18 years while using a gun
  • No gun can be carried in a public place unless in transit. The BB gun should also be placed in a bag
  • BB guns should not be pointed or fired at another human or animal. These guns can injure the object if they are shot powerfully.
  • The person using the BB gun must use Safety glasses and other protective clothing while operating the gun
  • It is important to comply with the VCRA law while using BB Guns. A minimum of 51% of a gun’s surface should be finished in a bright color. BB guns should also be made with transparent plastic. Colors must be vibrant hues with the likes of red; orange; yellow; blue; green; pink, and purple.
  • BB guns can be easily identified as they are an unrealistic imitation of a real gun. The police and general public can also recognize that you are holding a gun in your hand. You might confuse people and spread a wave of fear among people due to your BB gun possession. They might get mistaken and think that you are carrying a real gun. To avoid all these issues, it is important to keep your BB gun inside your bag. It is best to transport your weapon in a gun bag as this will minimize the risk of attracting attention.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.