Airguns come under different laws from guns which use bullets.
Bullets work when a small amount of explosive on the bullet is let off inside a gun, firing it. Airguns use compressed air to fire pellets.
Airguns are not as powerful as guns that fire bullets and the pellets don't travel as far. But they can be very dangerous if they hit someone from short range or in a sensitive area like the eyes from long range.
In January 2004 the law (the anti-social behaviour act 2003) was changed banning anyone under the age of 17 from having an air weapon with them at any time or the ammunition for an airgun, except in certain circumstances:
- If they are on private property, are older than 14, have the permission of the property owner, and no ammunition is fired outside the property
- If they are with someone older than 21
- As part of an approved rifle club or at a shooting gallery
A particular type of airgun, which uses a self-contained gas cartridge system (SCGC) has also been banned after some criminals converted some of them into guns that fire bullets.