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Scottish Air Weapon Licensing Update

The Scottish Government launched a public consultation on its plans to introduce a licensing system for weapons on the 14 December 2012. The Scottish Countryside Alliance, like many other organisations, submitted a robust response rejecting the need for such draconian measures.

 The SCA opposed the consultation proposals and urged all shooters to show solidarity with Scottish airgunners by signing an on-line petition, supporting a facebook campaign and responding to the consultation.

The consultation closed on the 15th March 2013 with analysis of the responses received published on the 19th July. It came as no great surprise that 87% of respondents rejected the proposal; we were however surprised by the Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskills reaction.  

 The Scottish Government claimed the responses were not representative of the wider population, with almost three-fifths coming from England, and around a fifth from cut-out coupons in shooting magazines. Mr MacAskill insists it is "simply not right" for airguns to be held without licence. Democracy in Action...


The on-line petition gained significant momentum in relation to Mr MacAskills statement and now nears 20,000 signatures. The petition was presented to the parliamentary petitions committee on the 3rd of September, SCA Director for Scotland Jamie Stewart was present to support the petition. Convener David Stewart MSP and committee members asked interesting and perhaps naive questions which were well answered by Dave Ewing, petitioner with additional evidence from Tom Parker SACS and Dr Colin Shedden BASC (Scotland)

 Despite hearing evidence in support of status quo Chic Brodie tried to close the petition and accept the Justice Secretary’s will. Convener, David Stewart MSP (Labour) resisted, keeping the petition open and making suggestions from the committee to the Justice Secretary:

 What impact do you foresee on current licence holders who will be affected by the massively increased licensing operation?

 What costs are likely to be placed upon any licence? 

Seeking the Justice Secretary's thoughts on the sucess of the similar knife trading legislation The Knife Dealers (Licence Conditions) (Scotland) Order 2012 which reported most recently that the implementation of the licence has not impacted on knife crime as projected. 

However encourage we were by these words, it didn’t come as a surprise when later in the day the First Ministers introduced a licensing bill.

 Serious doubts have been cast over planned new controls of air guns after Scotland's most senior frontline officers warned licensing would be too expensive and unwieldy.  The Association of Scottish Police Superintendents (ASPS) has now asked the Scottish Government to reconsider the plan to license all air guns north of the border, partly because there are so many in Scotland that the additional cost and burden on police would be considerable at a time of shrinking budgets.

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