By Graham Downing
Sunday, 14 February 2010
Q) I am 17 years old and a shotgun and firearms certificate holder. I was recently down for a variation and the firearms officer told me that I could not go out with a rifle by myself. Is this correct and, if so, what is the minimum legal age? G. HOWLETT By email
A)In Great Britain people under 14 years of age may not possess a Section 1 firearm or ammunition. However, between the ages of 14 and 17 a young person may possess and use a Section 1 firearm and ammunition provided they hold a valid firearms certificate for that firearm. They must, of course, comply with any condition on the certificate, but if it does not require them to be accompanied while shooting then they may shoot by themselves.
In Northern Ireland it is an offence for a person under 18 to possess a firearm. However, a person aged 16 or over may, for sporting purposes, have a firearm or ammunition in his possession while accompanied by a person of 18 or over who holds a valid certificate for the firearm and ammunition. Furthermore, it is not an offence for any person to possess a firearm, which they are entitled to possess by virtue of a Great Britain firearms certificate.
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