Safe Handling of Your Air Weapon
In the wrong hands, an Air Weapon can cause serious injury or even kill. Follow the common sense rules below to reduce the risk of an accident.
1. Always treat an Air Weapon as if it were loaded.
2. Only point an Air Weapon in a safe direction, preferably at the ground, and never at another person.
3. Never load an Air Weapon until you are ready to fire it.
4. Never fire an Air Weapon unless you are certain that the shot will be safe. This means checking that there is nothing and no one nearby who might be endangered and ensuring that there is a suitable backstop or pellet catcher to prevent ricochets.
5. Never rely on a safety catch to make an Air Weapon safe, they do fail.
6. Never put a loaded Air Weapon down. Always safely discharge or unload and uncock it first.
7. Cover Air Weapons when you transport them, use a Gun Slip.
8. Never store a loaded Air Weapon.
9. Air Weapons should be stored out of sight and separate from Pellets.
Air Weapons should be stored inside a house rather than an outbuilding, such as a garden shed. This is not only detrimental to the condition of your gun, but also leaving the gun vulnerable to theft.
Consider ways of rendering a stored Air Weapon incapable of being fired.
Preventing children from accessing Air Weapons
It is an offence for a person in possession of an Air Weapon to fail to take reasonable precautions to prevent a person under the age of 18 from gaining unauthorised access to it.
There have been several deaths as a result of children getting hold of Air Weapons. These tragedies might have been prevented had the air weapons been stored safely. Below are some simple steps to reduce the risk.
In many cases, it will be sufficient to store your Air Weapon in an existing, suitably robust, lockable cupboard, keeping the keys separate and secure.
Alternatively, you could use a lock or locking device to attach your Air Weapon to the fabric of the building, or to a fixed feature. Another useful idea is a Trigger Lock.
Curiosity will always tempt a child. Remember, speak to Grand Parents or other relatives if you know they have any gun in the house. Children when visiting, have a habit of exploring. Indeed, a recent case occurred where a child visited Grand Parents, found Grandads Air Weapon, it was loaded, and the child shot himself and tragically died.
Most of this guidance was taken from a very Good Home Office document. I have added what I believe to be relevant. There is a lot that can be done to reduce these awful incidents.
I mentioned earlier that these incidents attract attention that the sport and its enthusiasts really don’t need.
Help Encourage Responsible Ownership. (HERO)
In our next Blog we will discuss GUNLOG.