The Government has indicated that the control of airguns will be devolved to Scotland with the announcement in the Queen’s Speech that the findings of the Calman Commission will be implemented. Shooting bodies are concerned that the Calman Review’s recommendation to devolve airgun law will be included in a Scotland Bill to be launched this autumn. A change in the law would affect the estimated 500,000 airgun owners in Scotland and potentially incur huge financial costs at a time when budgets are being restricted.

In line with other shooting organisations, BASC has expressed its opposition to the separation of power over the UK’s firearms laws and is seeking a meeting with policing minister Nick Herbert to clarify the Westminster Government’s position. Dr Colin Shedden, BASC Scotland director, said:“BASC will continue to work to try to maintain firearms legislation as a reserved power.” David Pennf or the British Shooting Sports Council (BSSC)also expressed concern: “This Council will continue to resist this unnecessary proposal and will be seeking meetings with the ministers concerned.”

If powers over airgun law are devolved, it is thought that Scottish ministers would move towards a ban on all unlicensed airguns. The SNP promised to restrict airguns after the death of Andrew Morton in 2007 and restrictions have the backing of the Scottish Parliament. In the event of airgun law being devolved, BASC Scotland will make the case to MSPs that airgun crime can be prevented through better enforcement of existing laws and points to falling fi gures for airgun offences in support of this argument.

The rest of this article appears in 2nd June issue of Shooting Times.

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