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Air weapon licensing unnecessary, says Countryside Alliance

The announcement that recorded gun crime and offences in Scotland are at their lowest level for 33 years is great news for law and order, but should signify that the proposed licensing of air weapons is unnecessary, says the Scottish Countryside Alliance.

Statistics, released by the Scottish Government on 20 November, show that recorded crimes and offences in Scotland that involve firearms have dropped by 71 per cent since 2006/07. There were 365 incidents in 2012/13 – the lowest figure in Scotland since records began in 1980.

Air weapons offences, which make up 47 per cent of all gun crime, also fell.

Countryside Alliance director for Scotland Jamie Stewart said: “Scottish gun users understand that ownership is a responsibility, not a right and that regulation is crucial to stop guns being used unlawfully, however the thousands of law-abiding firearms owners should not be unfairly penalised.

“Gun crime is falling, and while we would not wish the government to become complacent we do not believe the licensing of air weapons is the right next move.

“Eighty-seven percent of respondents to the Government’s consultation on this subject rejected the proposal and even the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents believes licensing would be unwieldy and too expensive.

“We believe that in the vast majority of those who hold and use air weapons as part of an organised pest control exercise or shoot recreationally pose no threat to the wider public and do not require the draconian measures set down by the Justice Secretary.”

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