The bill will do little or nothing to deal with the problem of criminal misuse of airguns, while adding costs and bureaucracy to Police Scotland’s firearms licensing system.
Air gun crime in Scotland is at its lowest level since records began and has been falling for some time. The report acknowledges this yet still supports the introduction of a licensing system.
The low-level criminal misuse of air guns is already covered by existing legislation and any offence committed with an air gun is treated as seriously as any firearms offence.
The report has recognised that Police Scotland does not have the staff resources to deal with the peaks and troughs associated with sudden introduction of a five year licence.
The committee’s suggestion that the government should consider the retrospective inclusion of an identifier mark – or serial number – for more than 500,000 air guns would constitute an even greater waste of valuable police time and be an administrative nightmare.
Finally, the bill fails to meet the Principles of Better Regulation, to which the Scottish Government and all of the main political parties in the Scottish Parliament are committed.
These state that regulation should be proportionate, consistent, accountable, transparent and targeted, but the proposed legislation falls far short of these principles.
The British Association for Shooting and Conservation
It’s intriguing that the Scottish Government is bringing in legislation to license air weapons which are designed to deal with vermin yet it can’t provide an explanation as to why even some rural police officers have sprouted Glock 9mm pistols.
“Save the rats and shoot the people” is an interesting approach to currying favour with the electorate.
The SNP has become adept at introducing legislation which is certain to antagonise the vast majority of the Scottish rural populace on which it has substantially relied in the past to take power at Holyrood.
No one likes being bitten by their own dog.
Upper Largo, Fife