With BB Guns in the firing line from the Police and Public, it’s even more important that as an owner of a BB gun, be that a pistol or a rifle, you use it responsibly and safely. This is not only for your personal safety; but also in order to preserve the uncertain future of BB guns being legal in the UK. Too often we are seeing in the news arrests being made over BB guns being treated by the police as imitation firearms and accidents happening, accidents which are particularly prevalent among children. This misuse of BB guns gives the guns and the sport huge negative connotations with the public.
We urge you to use common sense with your BB gun. If somebody is shot by a pellet, it is classed as an assault. Depending on the injury it can be dealt with as common assault, actual bodily harm or even grievous bodily harm. These are offences which can carry severe penalties. Alternatively, if something is broken by a pellet, such as a window, either intentionally or recklessly, it is treated as criminal damage in the eyes of the law. It is of vital importance that you never take your gun into a public place. The firearms act of 1968 states ‘An imitation firearm is anything which has the appearance of being a firearm, regardless of whether or not it is capable of discharging a shot, bullet or other missile’. A BB gun fits into the criteria of an imitation firearm and therefore possession of one in a public place can lead to arrest. Another danger is that Police responding to calls regarding firearms are often armed themselves; there have been shootings of people who are in possession of an imitation firearm by the police. This is part of the reason why BB gun’s in the UK are now spray painted bright colors. Do not attempt to paint your gun any other colors, this is to avoid confusion as to what the gun is by the police and public. So with you informed on where you stand with the law and your BB gun you can enjoy it responsibly, without causing you or anyone else big problems.
So with the law cleared up; now to move on to how to use your BB gun safely. Firstly always treat your gun as if it is loaded, throughout history there has always being accidents derived from people being shot by guns which they wrongly presumed were safely unloaded. In the British army, if your weapon goes off accidentally, you can be imprisoned. Although your BB gun will do less damage than a real gun, serious injury can still occur, loss of sight being one of them! Never pointing your gun at anyone, even if you think it is unloaded is an obvious no no.
Ensure the area you are shooting in is safe, there should be no people or animals within firing range. Even if you hit your target BB’s can easily ricochet off and hit something in the surrounding area with a large amount of force. So ensure there are no people in the area, or things which could be damaged. This is also part of the reason why protective eyewear is important, your eyes are the most vulnerable part of your body and can easily be irreversibly damaged by pellets. Other protective items are also available; Rydair airsoft supplies boast a comprehensive range.
You should always check to ensure that the gun is unloaded whilst climbing over obstacles, fences etc. Climbing over obstacles with the gun loaded could result in it being discharged accidentally.