Licensing misfire

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Your report on the recent anti-knife campaign (1 April) highlights considerable success over the past six years.

The Scottish justice secretary, Kenny MacAskill, reports a 60 per cent decline in the handling of offensive weapons in Inverclyde since 2009 as well as the lowest levels in Scotland for 27 years.

He attributes this to the fact that: “We have consistently said that the best way to tackle ­violence is through education and prevention.”

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation, working with Police Scotland and, indeed, the Scottish Government, has taken a similar approach to crimes involving airguns.

Through education and prevention, including enforcement of existing legislation, we have also seen offences involving airguns decline by over 60 per cent in the past ten years. Firearms offences in Scotland are now at the lowest level since records began.

Despite this, the Scottish Government intends to introduce a licensing system for airguns.

This will be disproportionately expensive and has been criticised by the police themselves.

If Mr MacAskill believes education and prevention are the best way forward, he should stick to his guns, and forget about airgun licensing.

(Dr) Colin B Shedden

Director Scotland

British Association for Shooting and Conservation

Dunkeld, Perthshire