BASC fears changes to air weapon licensing in Scotland will place an unnecessary time and cost burden on the police.
Britain’s largest shooting organisation has welcomed a pledge that legislators have no intention of banning ‘plinking’ – informal target shooting, often in a garden. But a new Scottish government website suggests police will still need to visit a premises before issuing a licence.
Dr Colin Shedden, BASC Scotland director, said: “It seems wholly disproportionate that police licensing officers already under pressure to perform with greater demands and fewer resources must now visit a person’s garden to give the all-clear to allow shooting at a target with an air rifle.”
A public information campaign has been launched by the government ahead of the introduction of licensing for air weapons at the end of this year.
It has yet to be announced how much a licence or permit will cost, while there is also no detailed information about the formation of approved air weapon clubs.
But the website provides important background information and includes specific references to plinking.
Dr Shedden added: “When the bill was progressing through parliament, one of the greatest concerns was a presumption against plinking being a good reason for the granting of an air weapon certificate.
“We know that the vast majority of people who own the estimated 500,000 air weapons in Scotland use them for this activity. BASC was very concerned that this licensing regime would effectively put an end to a popular activity that often acts as a young person’s first introduction to shooting sports.
“However, the website states it is ‘not the intention to ban all plinking’ and it will be up to the police to decide on a case-by-case basis whether land, such as a garden, is suitable for plinking to be carried out safely.
“While this is a welcome response to BASC’s lobbying over the past two years, it is also likely to increase the number of home visits that the police will now have to carry out and therefore the overall cost of licensing.”
The website also clarifies that existing shooters with either a firearms or shotgun certificate do not need to licence their air weapon until their scheduled renewal time.