Fortnight amnesty for illegally held guns begins today

EMBARGOED TO 0001 MONDAY JUNE 18''Firearms on show after they were handed in at a police station. Police are launching a two-week gun amnesty to stop firearms falling into the hands of criminals. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday June 11, 2018. Anyone who has a firearm or ammunition without a valid certificate can take it to one of 43 police stations around the country during the amnesty, which runs from Monday June 18 until Sunday July 1. See PA story SCOTLAND Firearms. Photo credit should read: Lucinda Cameron/PA Wire
EMBARGOED TO 0001 MONDAY JUNE 18''Firearms on show after they were handed in at a police station. Police are launching a two-week gun amnesty to stop firearms falling into the hands of criminals. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday June 11, 2018. Anyone who has a firearm or ammunition without a valid certificate can take it to one of 43 police stations around the country during the amnesty, which runs from Monday June 18 until Sunday July 1. See PA story SCOTLAND Firearms. Photo credit should read: Lucinda Cameron/PA Wire
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Police are launching a two-week gun amnesty to stop firearms falling into the hands of criminals

Anyone who has a firearm or ammunition without a valid certificate can take it to one of 43 police stations around the country during the amnesty, which runs from today until 1 July.

People will also be able to hand in replica firearms, air weapons, BB guns, imitation firearms, component parts and other ballistic items during the initiative.

Police hope the firearms surrender campaign will reduce the risk of weapons falling into the wrong hands.

Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said: “What we want to do is remove any firearm availability from the criminals that operate across the country.

“There have been a lot of high profile incidents in recent times and we want to reduce the opportunity for individuals intent on using firearms within our communities to come into possession of these weapons.

“The people that will discharge firearms within the criminal world show an utter disregard for the safety of our communities.”

During the campaign people can hand in any firearms, whether someone has realised their firearms licence has expired, has unexpectedly discovered a gun while clearing out a house, or decides they no longer want to keep a lawfully held firearm.

Police have no idea how many weapons may be handed in, though they say it is unlikely to be anywhere near as high as the gun amnesty in England and Wales in November 2017 which netted around 7,500 firearms.

Anyone who surrenders a firearm will not be asked to give their personal details.

However police said that they reserve the right to investigate the history of the weapon if appropriate, to establish whether or not it has been used in any crime.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson welcomed the amnesty. He said: “Firearms offences are at historically low levels in Scotland.

“Nonetheless, there is always a risk that unused or unlicensed firearms could fall into the wrong hands.”