Labour MP who has launched a Parliamentary bid to ban under-14s from holding a shotgun licence has been described as “blinkered and prejudiced” by the Countryside Alliance (CA).

Thomas Docherty, MP for Dunfermline and West Fife, says that there is “no single coherent argument for why a seven-year old should be allowed to have unfettered access to fire a firearm.”

But the CA’s shooting campaign manager, David Taylor, said: “This faux outrage over the number of children holding shotgun licences is damaging to our sport, and is not based on any proper understanding of shooting laws.”

“With the Olympics next year, it’s more important than ever that blinkered and prejudiced views such as this aren’t allowed to prevent our young people from becoming future champions.”

It is thought that Mr Docherty is behind much of the recent media coverage of the number of children who have been granted licences.

Earlier this month, justice minister Nick Herbert revealed that 11 under-10s were granted licences last year, and 31 were granted licences between 2008 and 2010.

Mr Taylor said: “Young people must still undergo the same rigorous application process for a shotgun certificate that any adult does, and even then they are only allowed to use a shotgun under the strict supervision of an adult aged 21 or over. As with any certificated person, any form of misdemeanour could lead to the revocation of their certificate.”

“Combined with the discipline that shooting teaches, children that shoot should be upheld as role models in society, not villains. Shooting is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.”

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