BASC will continue to fight against a clause in the Scotland Bill which would hand over power to decide on airgun legislation in Scotland to the Scottish Parliament.

Its message came as MPs gathered at Westminster to discuss a number of the Bill?s clauses, including Clause 11, which would enable Holyrood to legislate to create a separate regulatory regime for airguns in Scotland.

Speaking to Shooting Times magazine after the debate, BASC?s director of communications, Christopher Graffius, said: ?There is no justification for devolving power over airguns to Scotland. This is a prime example of knee-jerk, piecemeal legislation that has bedeviled firearms laws. We would be failing in our duty to protect our members? right to go shooting if we did not take this seriously.?

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Conservative MP for the Cotswolds and chairman of the all-party group on shooting and conservation, spoke during the debate.

He pointed out that shooting contributes £240million to the Scottish economy, and that ?airguns are the entry point into the sport.?

?There is, therefore, really no need for any further amendments to the firearms legislation?, he said.

?There is nothing peculiarly Scottish about airgun controls or crime, so there is no justification for creating a system for Scotland that differs from the current regime in England.?

Christopher Graffius also said he fears Clause 11 could make it easier for Scottish politicians to increase controls on all firearms, not only airguns.

?If Scotland takes a restrictive attitude to airguns and calls for further laws on shotguns and rifles to be devolved, what is the logic of not devolving those laws if you?ve already devolved airgun laws??

Indeed, during the debate, SNP MP, Pete Wishart, proposed that all firearms legislation should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament, not only airguns.

?It would enable us to ensure that we could deal with all the issues relating to firearms,? he said.

?Surely that is a better situation to be in than having responsibility for only one aspect.?

Cathy Jamieson (Labour) displayed no sympathy for airgun users: ?I find it difficult to understand why anyone living in an urban environment would require an airgun in their home.?

However, Labour?s Michael Connarty replied: ?Strangely, where somebody lives does not necessarily determine whether it is right for them to have a firearm of any kind: the question is what they are going to use it for, whether it is properly secured and whether they are properly licensed, controlled and monitored by the police.?

Cross-border issues were also discussed, with some members asking what would happen if airguns were licensed in Scotland but not in England, and someone from England took a gun without a licence north of the border.