A response to the Scottish Government’s proposals to introduce licensing for all low powered airguns in Scotland has been submitted by the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).
The Scottish Government says it is committed to introducing licensing procedures but BASC is opposed to the proposals, as introducing a licensing scheme is unnecessary and could be costly and difficult to administer.
If the plans come into force, people in Scotland will no longer be allowed to use airguns on their property for informal target shooting (commonly called ‘plinking‘) and people travelling to Scotland with airguns will need to apply for a visitor’s permit in advance. Compensation will not be offered to people who hand in their airguns rather than apply for a licence.
According to the Scottish Government’s own figures, airgun crime has fallen for the last five years in a row. Over the five year period from 2006/07, this represents a 71 per cent decrease in crime committed with airguns.
BASC Scotland director Colin Shedden said: “The Scottish Government has estimated and accepted that there are half a million low powered airguns in Scotland. Licensing all or even a fraction of these will be an extremely difficult task which will involve the use of extensive police resources. We are also concerned that further regulation will discourage many from starting shooting, which is a vital part of the Scottish countryside and rural economy. Airguns are an essential tool for pest control where more powerful firearms cannot be used and they are used for training and target shooting up to Olympic standards.”
BASC’s detailed response to the consultation can be read here.