Dunblane parent welcomes airgun licence plans

Dr Mick North's daughter Sophie was killed in the Dunblane tragedy. Picture: PA
Dr Mick North's daughter Sophie was killed in the Dunblane tragedy. Picture: PA
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DUNBLANE parent Mick North says new plans to licence airguns in Scotland will lead to a cut in the number of attacks and weapons on the streets.

The changes mean anyone who owns an airgun will need a licence, with the aim of introducing tighter controls on Scotland’s estimated 500,000 air weapons.

Dr North has become a high profile campaigner as part of the Gun Control Network (GCN) since the 2006 tragedy and told MSPs today that the new Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill sends out the “right message.”

“In the past 18 years we’ve seen a number of fatalities happen as a result of airgun incidents and some members have lost children and had children injured,” he said.

“We feel one of the problems has been a lax attitude towards air weapons and feel very strongly that registration sends out the right message and reflects the degree of dangerousness of air weapons.”

He told MSPs that airguns account for about one death a year UK-wide and many more serious incidents.

He added: “The licensing system would make anyone who wants to use them think very seriously about their need to have them and lead to a subsequent reduction in the number of weapons and therefore the number of serious incidents.”

Dr North’s 5-year-old daughter Sophie was killed in the shooting horror at Dunblane Primary in 1996 when gunman Thomas Hamilton killed sixteen children and a teacher.

Public anger in Scotland over air weapons snapped after the killing of two-year-old Andrew Morton who was shot in the head in 2005 by an air rifle fired by drug addict Mark Bonini. The toddler had been in the street with big brother Brian, then aged 13, watching fire engines when Bonini shot him from a first-floor flat window.

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