Over 12,000 weapons surrendered in airgun amnesty

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Shotguns, crossbows and pistols dating back to the Second World War are among more than 12,000 weapons handed to police as part of an airgun amnesty.

The Police Scotland surrender scheme, which ended on June 12, followed the introduction of new legislation requiring holders to have an ownership certificate.

More than 12,000 weapons have been handed in as part of the amnesty. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

More than 12,000 weapons have been handed in as part of the amnesty. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

The Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act, which will come into force on 31 December, is designed to tighten up the law surrounding airguns following a number of high-profile incidents.

Chief Constable Phil Gormley today said 11,569 weapons had been handed in to police stations across the country during the three-week initiative.

An additional 1,000 weapons have been handed in since the campaign drew to a close.

Mr Gormley said: “This is a fantastic response. Every weapon handed in had the potential to cause serious harm within our communities if misused, and to have more than 11,000 fewer weapons in existence has made Scotland a safer place.

“All of these guns, and an assortment of other harmful weapons including crossbows, shotguns, rifles and several pistols dating back to World War 2, will now be taken away and destroyed to ensure they are off our streets forever.”

The new airgun licensing process opens for business on 1 July, and anyone intending to keep their weapon must apply to the police.

It is thought there could be around 500,000 airguns in Scotland.

Calls for stricter controls on the weapons gained momentum following the death of toddler Andrew Morton in Glasgow in 2005.

Mark Bonini, 28, was sentenced to at least 13 years in prison after fatally wounding the boy with an air rifle pellet.

Justice secretary Michael Matheson said: “It is extremely encouraging that more than 11,000 unwanted air weapons have been handed in by people who do not plan to have a licence when the new law comes in to force at the end of the year.

“The new licensing regime is not a ban on air weapons but a means of ensuring people can use air weapons in a regulated way without compromising public safety. We believe this legislation strikes the right balance between protecting communities and allowing legitimate shooting in a safe environment to continue.”