Paintball guns


Paintball guns are imitation guns which look like real guns and use expanding gas or compressed air to propel paintballs through the barrel. Those firing at a velocity of not more than 300 fps used to ‘mark’ participants engaging in paintballing activities fall outside Section 1 of the Firearms Act 1968 and do not require a licence.  Paintball guns must use only approved paintballs and must not discharge more than one paintball at a time.  It is an offence to carry a paintball gun (imitation gun) in a public place without good reason.

See ‘Gun law’ pages.


IDENTIFICATION  Because paintball guns look similar to other guns it can be difficult to identify if a gun being brandished during an incident is real or a paintball, or other non-licensed gun.  Victims of armed crime are traumatised and not surprisingly unable to identify the gun being used to assault them. Media reporting is unreliable and unless guns are fired or recovered and can be authenticated they are categorised as ‘unidentified’. Many press reports relating to unidentified guns are likely to involve imitation non-licensed guns*.


*The Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill

The Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament in June 2015 and received the Royal Assent in August 2015. Under the provisions of the Act it will be an offence for a person to use, possess, purchase or acquire an air weapon in Scotland without holding an air weapon certificate.



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