Britain’s largest shooting organisation says airgun safety should be a matter of common sense rather than legislation.
Responding to the Government’s proposal in the Queen’s speech to draft a law to ensure that airguns are stored securely out of the reach of children, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) said airgun safety is a matter of good sense and good practice and all legitimate users of airguns are aware of safety precautions including access and storage.
Bill Harriman, BASC’s director of firearms, said: "It is regrettable that a small number of incidents of abuse and carelessness have prompted government action. However, even a single accident is one too many and BASC understands public concern and will support measures which will reduce the misuse of airguns while not impinging on the practices of safe and law-abiding airgun users."
"We have been discussing this matter with government for some time, and have represented the views of responsible airgunners in a constructive meeting with the Home Office minister Alan Campbell. We are awaiting detailed guidance on the proposal from the Home Office, but anticipate legislation which, if parliamentary time allows, would place a responsibility on airgun owners to take reasonable precautions to keep them safely stored and out of the reach of children. This is a common sense approach and one which will already be followed by the vast majority of airgun users."
There are estimated to be at least six million airguns in the UK and the proportion of accidents is very small. Airguns are commonly used for pest control in situations where they offer an effective method of humane control with minimal disturbance and risk to safety. Airguns are widely used in target shooting sports and the sale and use of airguns is already well regulated.