News story

Home Office to review air weapons regulation in England and Wales

Revised edition of the Home Office guidance for air weapons users also published.

Air rifle

The government is to review the regulation of air weapons licensing, following a request from the Suffolk coroner.

Speaking in an adjournment debate in the House of Commons, Minister for Policing and the Fire Service Nick Hurd said:

I have recently written to the coroner and confirmed my intention to review the regulation of air weapons in England and Wales. I think that this is an appropriate time to take stock of the regulatory position and assess whether the current controls, which are already strong, continue to be appropriate and effective.

I intend to look carefully at the existing controls on air weapons, including how best to ensure that these weapons are stored safely and securely.

I think that a review of air weapon regulation is important and timely, we will do so against a backdrop of existing controls that are, by all international comparisons, very robust.

The debate was secured by Bristol South MP Karin Smyth after the serious injury in her constituency of 18-month-old Harry Studley in July last year, who was shot with an air rifle by a neighbour.

That incident followed the case of Benjamin Wragge, aged 13 from Suffolk, who died in May 2016 after he was accidentally shot with an air weapon. Her Majesty’s Senior Coroner for Suffolk, Dr Peter Dean, wrote to the Home Office requesting a review of legislation covering the use and manufacture of air weapons, with a view to preventing similar tragedies occurring in the future.

During the debate last night, the Minister confirmed he would be meeting Benjamin Wragge’s family later this year to listen to their views.

The Home Office will determine the detail and scope of the review and, today (10 October), has published a revised edition of the Home Office guidance leaflet for air weapons users.

The leaflet will be available online and will also be distributed to readers of Airgun World and Airgunner. It advises on the laws and safety procedures to which all air weapon owners must adhere.

Published 10 October 2017