Shotguns are shoulder-fired long-barrelled smooth bore guns used for target shooting, clay pigeon shooting, game and wildfowl shooting and hunting other birds and other wildlife, designed to shoot a large number of small projectiles (lead shot). Shotguns require a Section 2 Shotgun certificate.  

See ‘Gun Law’ pages.


IDENTIFICATION - Because imitation shotguns look like real guns it can be impossible to tell without close examination if a gun being brandished during an incident is real or a deactivated, imitation shotgun, airgun*, airsoft, replica or other long-barrelled 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 they are categorised as ‘unidentified’.  Many press reports which refer to ‘shotguns’ are likely to involve airsoft, air rifles*, imitations and other non-licensed long-barrelled guns which look like shotguns.


*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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