From 10 February, owners will be liable for a fine of up to £1000 if they do not take reasonable precautions to stop unauthorised access. Read the rules in full here.
Safety leaflets will be included with every air gun purchased.
In 2009/10 there were 1,317 incidents where an air weapon was obtained without permission.
How to keep your weapon safe:
- store your airgun out of sight and separately from pellets
- use a robust, lockable cupboard and keep the keys separate and secure
- always store your airgun inside a house rather than in an out building, such as a garden shed
- never store a cocked or loaded airgun
- when using your airgun, keep it under close supervision and never leave it unattended
Crime prevention minister James Brokenshire said: ‘For the vast majority of responsible airgun owners, keeping their weapon safely locked up is routine. But when an air gun is allowed to get in to the wrong hands the consequences can be tragic.
‘Although serious incidents are rare, there have been cases in recent years where children have got hold of carelessly stored airguns that have resulted in severe injuries and even deaths. We want to do everything in our power to keep the risk of such incidents to an absolute minimum.
‘With this new legislation, we are saying there is no excuse. If you do not keep your airgun safely away from children you will be prosecuted.’