Airgun legislation should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament, according to the controversial Calman Commission report, published on 15 June.

Led by Sir Kenneth Calman, the report was an independent review of Scottish devolution since 1998.

The recommendation comes after Scottish ministers made repeated attempts to get Westminster to ban airguns throughout the UK or to allow the Scottish government to legislate on the issue.

A Scottish government spokesman explained that if the proposals are approved, ministers will look to overhaul current airgun legislation: ?We are encouraged by the recommendation on airguns. We have maintained that airguns should be licensed to put them on a similar footing with other lethal firearms, but allowing for legitimate use. That is why we will continue to push for an overhaul of the whole firearms regime, to reform the licensing scheme to make it consistent and easier to understand and to enforce.?

The spokesman added that the government does not wish to penalise legitimate airgun users, however: ?There has been no change in policy with regard to legitimate uses. It is not being suggested that all airguns be removed from Scotland. Those who have a legitimate reason to hold them, such as for pest control or recognised sporting events, should still be allowed to do so. It is those who misuse airguns that we want to target.?

Shooting organisations have said they will oppose any move to devolve power over airgun law to Scotland.

BASC has maintained that different laws across the UK would create confusion, compromise law enforcement, do nothing for public safety and disadvantage the law-abiding shooting community.

BASC?s Bill Harriman explained: ?The call for devolution of firearms control powers is an overtly political initiative that is not evidentially based. Scottish statistics show a low level of firearms incidents, which are in decline. Education and enforcement of existing legislation is undoubtedly the best way to address any problems.?

He added that existing laws should be better enforced: ?The vast majority of people who use airguns do so lawfully and there are already sufficient powers available to deal with the small minority who break the law. BASC believes that a new airgun law that only applies in Scotland will be almost impossible to enforce and BASC will strongly argue against it.?

The Scottish Countryside Alliance?s (SCA) Ross Montague pointed out legitimate airgun users, either for sport or pest control, are not the people committing airgun crimes. ?We have put this point to the Scottish government many times and it is encouraging that it has taken this on board and does not seek to ban the legitimate use of airguns,? he said.

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association?s (SGA) Alex Hogg said for most people who are involved in the sport of shooting, their introduction comes through air rifles and that when used responsibly they are extremely safe. ?The SGA believes it is ridiculous to consider banning air rifles because they may fall into irresponsible hands and will oppose any move in that direction. The policy of banning hand pistols has simply led to illegal ownership and we believe the same would happen with air rifles,? said Mr Hogg.

Let us know what you think about this!

  • James Hamilton

    At 46 I have never had any trouble with the police. I am a responsible user of my gun but am about to be banned from owning one. I am incandescent at the nanny state punishment of the many instead of proper control of the few.

    Remove the emotion of this move and the cheap publicity that is being gained and then justify it in light of the arguement that cars should be banned because joyriders use them????

  • Dido Bendigo

    Funny, I’m missing something here! When the ‘Justice Secretary’ announced his intentions about a month ago, he declared that he would BAN AIRGUNS, no ifs, no buts, it was to be a BAN!

    It seems that he has changed his mind and now goes along with what I stated in a letter to an MSP friend of mine. Could my friend have shown him the letter? He asked if he could do so! See below –

    Scottish Justice Secretary’s threat of blanket airguns ban.

    I can’t believe that intelligent adults can vote for the likes of control freaks who would make us all accept directives without challenge! Are these people really the ‘Independence’ advocates who claim they want to free us from the grip of the tyrant? Is this man in charge of the Scottish ‘Government’? Or are our MSP’s able to have a say in the Scottish Parliament? Methinks that Kenny MacAskill MSP should look up the definition of ‘Justice’, as in his title of ‘Justice Secretary’.

    I am the owner of an air rifle and have been so for the last fifty-seven years. In that time I have managed to avoid shooting any human being by accident, let alone design. But now, because of a few idiots, he wants to take my airgun away, despite my owning legal shotguns and previously holding both .22 and .243 sporting rifles!

    I have a garden in a countryside village; rabbits occasionally get through the (well maintained) fence. They arrive via gardens belonging to a housing association that can’t be bothered to erect fences, let alone repair them! When the rabbits do get in they cause havoc among our vegetable beds and ornamental plants. I shoot the little darlings through the head with my airgun as soon as I possibly can, but when away on holiday it can be heart breaking to return to find devastation. The rabbits do not damage the vegetables in the gardens of the housing association tenants, in the majority they don’t plant any due to the lack of fencing! I could, of course, shoot the animals with my .410 shotgun, or even the 12 bore, but I have a teensy weensy sneaking suspicion that housing association and private house residents might complain about the noise and perceived danger to themselves! Cage traps can work reasonably well during the winter when food is scarce, but in the main growing season there is no hope of bait succeeding. A humane spring trap that kills instantly is out of the question due to the presence of domestic cats, red squirrels and pine martens in the area.

    If the minister’s plan is enacted, will he please ensure that I get put on parliamentary expenses in order to pay for the vegetables that I loose due to his ban? If not, might I suggest that he gives a grant to all housing associations and orders them (in his inimitable way) to get their gardens rabbit fenced, before he takes my airgun away? Indeed, such a move may encourage the occupiers to plant vegetables, thereby helping to cut food imports. Moreover, getting some of our sedentary population fitter and even getting some wayward youths off the streets! I had gardening lessons as part of my education curriculum, let’s bring it back today! Why not?

    I deplore the misuse of airguns, but I blame the user not the instrument. I’m sure that many older readers recall the .22 rifle ranges on fair grounds during their youth? If shooting responsibly were part of school and youth group recreational activities, I feel many youngsters could be deflected from criminal temptations. Let’s not forget that airgun shooting is a medal winning activity in the Olympic Games!

    When I got my first airgun (aged ten years) a gun licence cost ten shillings (50p). The local policeman knew of every legal owner in his area and heaven help the illegal owner, hauled up before the court, a fine and instant criminal record! I would not shrink from paying a fee to register as an airgun owner, but I would prefer to be granted permission on the grounds of my being a registered shotgun owner.
    Yours sincerely,

    An Enfranchised Citizen.

    Please do not publish my name and address, I do not want a visit from some ‘animal rights’ nut!

  • Douglas Kyle

    The Calman report does conclude that control over air weapons should be devolved to the Scottish ‘Parliament’ but I have not read anything on any website forum or news report about the part that also states that any restriction in the ownership of currently legaly held weapons must be underpinned by a compensation scheme. Considering the number of air weapons in circulation in Scotland the cost of such a scheme would be unthinkable and the report also points out the possibilities of exploiting compensation by transporting large numbers of air weapons into Scotland from England. The SNP are completely and certifiably insane but I don’t think that they are suicidal.

  • int it brilliant

    keep banning things, see what happens!

    our people have no weapons, yet for the first time in history…… our police force are now armed like a psudomilitary tactical squadron…….

    why is this? why are they dressed in black with their numbers all taped up? with bloody ski masks on…………

    wake up people!!!!!!

  • A Warrillow

    I have noted for sometime that Scotland has a more pronounced attitude against any form of risk taking and a greater propensity towards social control and the overuse of cotton wool protectionism than England. So I am not surprised that its pervasive social engineering mindset is set to embrace any form of what may be construed as anti social attitudes using the blunt instrument of more legislation rather than using commonsense and teaching safe practice.

  • Gordon lyon

    Yet another money making piece of legislation. When will these politicians get it into their thick skulls that the genuine enthusiast will always comply…..another example of “preaching to the Converted”

  • Annon

    In my opinion the Westminster Government will not allow devolution of firearms issues, because if it did, it would need to do it for ALL firearms, not just air weapons.

    Some of the more left-wing councils might try for a byelaw ban at some point, but the legal and technical difficulties would be immense – when Edinburgh tried as a knee-jerk to the airgun shootings by thugs there, it found it was not possible to do anything.

  • Jeremy

    Why do politicians try to make political gain out of these sorts of issues. Are they trying to draw attention away from their own indiscretions? There are ample and effective laws already in place which have recently been up-grade. There is no evidence to support this proposed ban and it can only be as a sensation grabbing exercise by politicians who should be involved in major issues like employment, education, health matters rather than wasting expensive and scarce parlimentary time.

  • John Michael Richards

    If public safety is indeed paramount in the minds of the honourable gentlemen and ladies of Holyrood, maybe they should ban football; even a notional look at the National Audit Office statistics on death and injury would confirm that more are attributable, on a year on year basis, to the miscreant supporters of football than through misuse of airguns or firearms.

    Moreover, outright banning or introduction of a stealth tax (I think the honourable members prefer the term ‘licensing’) would be detrimental to commerce north of the border as there are a number of specialists businesses and organisations there who gain their livelihood from the sale of highly specialised competition and Olympic level pistols and rifles.

    Me-thinks the ministers have abandoned all principles of gun safety and shot themselves roundly in the foot!

  • Ruth McKennell

    They should ban cars in Scotland, cars are dangerous when misused but you still see lots of Scottish people overtaking 10 cars to get past a tractor just before a bend.

  • Russell Middleton

    British government has a long history of always going one step beyond responsibility. By trying to avoid the messiness of democracy we’ve implement a benevolent oligarchy. It should never be about the technology, but about the abusers. Catching and convicting individuals doing harm is harder than prohibiting objects or substances. Prohibition is only a friend to criminals.

    If prohibition were the answer Britain would be the safest country on earth. Instead: “Armed crime is literally one hundred times more common than at the turn of the century when Britain had no weapons controls. Crime victimization surveys show that, per capita, assault in England and Wales occurs between two and three times more often than in the United States. These same surveys demonstrate that robbery occurs 1.4 times more, and burglary occurs 1.7 times more.” ~ 22 Hamline L. Rev. 399-465 (1999)

    “You do not examine legislation in light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered.” ~ Lyndon B. Johnson