Proposals to license all airguns in Scotland are disappointing, the Scottish Countryside Alliance (SCA) has said today, but we shall work with the Scottish Government to ensure the legislation is as workable as possible for our members. Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill MSP announced new legislation today (15 May) that will affect the owners of the 500,000 air weapons he estimates are used in Scotland. SCA director Jamie Stewart said: “The Scottish Countryside Alliance has lobbied hard on this point. We do not believe lower-powered air rifles need to be licensed as the vast majority of those who hold and use them, as part of an organised pest control exercise or who shoot recreationally, pose no threat to the wider public.
“This legislation comes against falling airgun crime and will do nothing to protect the public, while penalising responsible owners and being a bureaucratic and administrative nightmare for the police. Education and proper enforcement of the existing law is what is needed, not further legislation.
“The Association of Scottish Police Superintendents has warned that licensing would be unwieldy and expensive and 87% of respondents to the Government’s consultation rejected the proposal. However, Mr MacAskill has ploughed on against all the evidence, so we shall work with the Government to minimise the burden on the responsible airgun owner.”
The SCA is also concerned that Mr MacAskill describes the proposal as “an important first step towards devolving all powers on firearms to the Scottish Parliament”.
“Inconsistent firearms legislation across Britain would cause a real problem, not least for the large numbers of visitors who come to Scotland to shoot and boost its economy,” said Mr Stewart. “We believe firearms regulation must remain the responsibility of the UK Government.”