The Scottish Parliament’s intention to continue towards licensing air weapons, despite evidence that such a move will do little to reduce crime whilst increasing police costs, is disappointing, says the Scottish Countryside Alliance (SCA). Yesterday (23 March) the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Regeneration Committee published its report on the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill. It suggests that the estimated 500,000 air weapons held across Scotland should be licensed, despite a warning from the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents that licensing would be unwieldy and expensive.
SCA director Jamie Stewart said: “The Scottish Countryside Alliance believes the licensing system is unnecessary and will do little to deter criminal activity or increase public safety. The criminal misuse of airguns is already covered by existing legislation; an offence committed with an airgun is treated in the same manner as any firearms offence.
“The committee report acknowledges that offences with air weapons in Scotland are at their lowest level since records began, yet still supports the introduction of an unnecessary licensing system. Any new licensing system will only be supported by law-abiding airgun owners and will make little difference to those involved in criminal activities.”
The SCA is also concerned that the Committee has suggested the retrospective inclusion of an identifier mark – or serial number – for over 500,000 airguns.
“This would constitute an even greater waste of valuable police time, prove to be an administrative nightmare and an additional cost, presumably to law-abiding shooters,” said Mr Stewart.