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.