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Shooters decry airgun licence fee

As the Scottish Government finally confirms the cost of the new airgun licence, the legislation is widely condemned by countryside organisations as unnecessary and ineffective

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The Scottish Government has finally confirmed that the new airgun licence fee will be £72 for new applications. Visitor permits will be £20, while there will be a £5 charge for existing shotgun and firearm certificate holders.

Shooting organisations, which opposed the introduction of the new legislation, have once again voiced concerns.

“While we welcome the nominal fee for existing certificate holders, which BASC was instrumental in securing, we still have grave concerns regarding the implementation of a licensing scheme that will impact thousands of people,” said BASC Scotland director Colin Shedden. Tim Bonner, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, commented:

“Since the Scottish Government announced plans two years ago to license the estimated 500,000 airguns in Scotland, we have been have vocal in our opposition.

“At the time, we pointed out that the legislation was needless, came against falling airgun crime statistics, would not make the public safer and was not welcomed by the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents, who warned that a licensing system would be unwieldy and expensive. Now, two years later, as the way is prepared for the Air Weapons Licensing (Scotland) Regulations 2016 to come into force, calls for a reasonable and logical fees system have also fallen on deaf ears.

“This week, the Scottish Government published the regulations, due to come into force on 1 July. Sadly, it looks as though owning an airgun will be as complicated and as expensive as owning a shotgun or firearm licence; the price of the main air weapon certificate fee is £72 for a five-year certificate.

“Neither these regulations and the charging of fees to legal air gun holders, nor an ongoing airgun amnesty, which suggests that having an airgun is somehow wrong, will have any effect on those who wish to use them illegally.

“We have repeatedly pointed out that new rules for the law abiding will never touch the criminal element at whom any legislation is aimed.

“This new layer of bureaucracy will add countless hours of work to already overburdened Scottish police forces, while efforts to catch real criminals are neglected.

“We hope this serves to warn law makers outside of Scotland: proceeding with legislation against consultation advice or the warnings of experts will only end in failure.”