Airgun_329Yesterday MSP’s debated the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill, which would mean all 500,000 air rifles used in Scotland would need to be licensed.

Scottish Countryside Alliance director Jamie Stewart, said: “We are greatly disappointed that, despite the Cabinet Secretary’s acknowledgement that current recorded offences involving air weapons are at the lowest level since comparable records began in 1980, the Air Weapons and Licensing Bill received sufficient parliamentary support to progress to Stage Two. 

“We were encouraged by the support shown by the Scottish Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Conservative and Unionists, with some strong words from both Tavish Scott MSP and Alex Fergusson MSP in particular. We will continue to work with our colleagues and MSPs to put forward amendments to the bill in a bid to lessen the impact on those who currently own an air gun or intend to purchase one in the future.

“We are particularly concerned on the price point set by the Scottish Government for the proposed air weapons licence. It has been suggested that Police Scotland would ask the Scottish Government to increase the fee for any proposed licence to a greater value than that set by the Home Office for firearm and shotgun certificates. I do not think that this is practical or indeed fair.

“I am also most concerned about the proposed restriction of the practice of shooting within the curtilage of an occupier’s own garden. The British Shooting Sports Council has identified that the vast majority of people who use air weapons in Scotland and the rest of the UK use them for informal target shooting in gardens. Although the bill does not prohibit this, the policy memorandum states that ministers would not normally accept shooting in domestic gardens as a good reason to grant a licence. It concerns me that a significant number of applicants could be prohibited from achieving a licence because they cannot provide a good reason, or indeed a big enough garden.”