The Government’s announcement that it has decided "in principle" to devolve control over airguns to the Scottish Parliament has been condemned by the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).
Christopher Graffius, BASC director of communications, said: “This is the politics of populism, not of practicality. While it is natural for the Scottish Secretary to be concerned about his party’s standing in Scotland in the run up to an election, he should be aware that in the whole of the UK there are millions of people who own airguns, many of whom will be appalled.”
The Scottish Secretary also said that this decision will require primary legislation, which will not take place until after the General Election. Christopher Graffius said: “BASC will be pressing all political parties for an assurance that if elected, all control over firearms law will be reserved to Westminster. The curse of British firearms law has been its piecemeal development. Devolving control over airguns to Scotland is more tinkering at the edges which will do nothing to improve safety.”
BASC director for Scotland, Dr. Colin Shedden, said: “Offences involving airguns have shown a dramatic fall in Scotland, and have more than halved over the last twelve years. There could be enormous practical difficulties in enforcing one set of controls in Scotland and another over the border. Airguns are used for safe and effective pest control, target shooting and sporting shooting. They will feature in the 2012 Olympic Games and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The use of airguns is well regulated and politicians should instead be looking to improve enforcement and education.”