No licence is needed for an air rifle in the UK provided the weapon has muzzle energy of less than 12 foot-pounds, according to the Metropolitan Police. Air rifles can only be purchased and operated without supervision by those over the age of 18.
A firearms certificate is required for any air rifle with muzzle energy greater than 12 foot-pounds along with air pistols with muzzle energy greater than six foot-pounds. According to the British Association for Shooting & Conservation, UK law does not discriminate between air rifles and more powerful weapons that require licences – both are classed as firearms. This means the penalties for breaching the regulations surrounding the use of air rifles can be severe.