Weapons amnesty begins ahead of new ownership laws

A NATIONAL amnesty on air weapons has begun prior to a strengthening of ownership rules.

Air gun amnesty begins. Picture: Contributed

Air gun owners are being asked to surrender them over the next three weeks before a legislation change.

From 31 December it will be illegal for anyone to possess or use an air weapon without a licence under the Air Weapon and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015.

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A total of 72 nominated police stations across Scotland will receive weapons before 22 June if owners do not wish to apply for a licence.

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Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams said: ‘’Take a moment or two to look out old or unwanted weapons and follow the advice on our website regarding how to safely transport them and where to take them.

‘’Getting rid of these unwanted air weapons will make our streets safer.”

Those wishing to apply for a certificate will be able to do so from 1 July, in a similar manner to the current firearm and shotgun certification process.

The cost of the certificate has yet to be decided by ministers but the British Association of Shooting and Conservation has said it expects it to be less than the £79.50 shotgun licence.

BB guns are not classified as air weapons under the Act.

There were 182 air weapon offences in 2013-14, the equivalent of one every other day, according to the Scottish Government.

Wild animals and cats are the most common victims of air weapon crimes, with more than 100 reports of animals being targeted each year.

To find out where your nearest designated surrender station is go to www.scotland.police.uk/airweaponsurrender.