The Government introduced a new offence last week to stop under-18s gaining unauthorised access to airguns. From 10 February, owners will be liable for a fine of up to £1,000 if they to fail to take reasonable precautions to prevent their airguns from falling into the hands of children.

A circular sent to chief police officers says that the definition of reasonable precautions will depend on each individual case and it is therefore not possible to be prescriptive. It goes on to say that different considerations will apply depending on whether an air weapon is in use or not.

Home Office crime prevention minister James Brokenshire said: ?For the vast majority of responsible airgun owners, keeping firearms safely locked up is routine, but when an airgun is allowed to get into the wrong hands, the consequences can be tragic. There have been cases in recent years where children have got hold of carelessly stored airguns ? with this new legislation, we are saying there is no excuse. If you do not keep your airgun safely away from children you will be prosecuted.?

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

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