Shooting groups say there is no justification for further burdens on airgun owners.

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The Home Office has launched its consultation into the regulation of airguns, which was announced last year.

Stakeholders and the public were asked to respond with their opinions as to whether existing legislation is sufficient to prevent children accessing airguns.

BASC told the Home Office that no further restrictions are required and argued that existing legislation, which makes it an offence to fail to take reasonable precautions to prevent someone under 18 years old from gaining unauthorised access to an airgun, is sufficient.

Solution lies in existing laws

BASC firearms team manager Paul Dale said: “Our view is that the solution lies in the education of youngsters and their parents and enforcement of existing law.

“BASC will respond in robust terms to this consultation and will be reminding the Government that there is already plenty of good law to deal with those who abuse airguns.”

The organisation’s chairman, Peter Glenser QC, who specialises in firearms law, added: “In law, airguns are classified as firearms and are subject to all the criminal provisions of the Firearms Act. This is already a powerful penal statute and there is no need for further law. The solution has already been identified by Government as education and enforcement.”

Airgun consultation

The consultation will run until 6 February, with the Home Office seeking views on issues including airgun storage and whether further manufacturing measures are required to prevent accidental discharge.

Enormous fall in airgun crime

Liam Stokes, Countryside Alliance head of shooting, said it was right for legislation to be periodically revisited but that it should also be proportionate — and that there is no need for new laws putting burdens on airgun owners with no benefit to public safety.

Mr Stokes also highlighted the “enormous fall” in airgun crime in the past 15 years, which he said gives “little justification for new and potentially expensive and impractical restrictions”.