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Scottish restrictions on airguns could have knock-on effect

As the Scotland Bill continues to progress through Parliament, shooting groups are warning that any restrictions placed on airguns north of the Border could have a knock-on effect for the rest of the United Kingdom.

Clause 11 of the bill, which is currently being debated in the House of Commons, would enable the Scottish Parliament to legislate to create a separate regulatory regime for airguns in Scotland.

The clause still remains in the bill despite the efforts of Conservative MP and chairman of the all-party group on shooting and conservation, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown. As Shooting Times reported last week, Mr Clifton-Brown recently tabled an amendment in the Commons to have the clause removed.

Christopher Graffius, BASC?s director of communications, who advised Mr Clifton-Brown on his speech, told Shooting Times that he was worried about the way the debate was heading.

He said: ?Airgun shooting is the way into our sport and it?s critical to its health that it is well-regulated and available for people to take up. If they do impose restrictive laws in Scotland, how long will it be before those same laws are being agitated for south of the Border?

?What I want to know is why the current Government, which supports shooting, appears hellbent on devolving power over firearms law to Scotland, given everything it has said about avoiding knee-jerk reaction and piecemeal legislation.?

The rest of this article appears in 23rd March issue of Shooting Times.

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