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As part of a populist catch-all bill to regulate such things as lap-dancing clubs, scrap metal dealers and alcohol sales to under-18s, a new Licensing Bill was introduced last week to the Scottish Parliament by the Scottish National party, which will establish a licensing regime to restrict the 500,000 airguns in circulation north of the border.

Opposition to the plans was demonstrated to the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee when a 21,000-signature petition was presented on Tuesday, 3 September. Additionally, the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents last week asked the Scottish Government to reconsider its plan due to the bureaucratic burden it would place on forces. The association published a paper on the subject which states: “The scale of the challenge around licensing and ongoing enforcement of any new legislation must not be underestimated.” It adds: “In the face of reducing policing budgets will it be possible for policing to absorb the costs of operating an air weapons licensing process and enforcing new laws?”

The rest of this article appears in the 11th September issue of Shooting Times.

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