BASC has submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Scottish Government for missing crime statistics which are crucial to the debate on airgun licensing. The 2014 annual Scottish Government report on firearms offences has not yet been published, leaving MSPs without important evidence.
On Thursday 23 April MSPs will decide whether to proceed with plans to license airguns in Scotland. The debate could affect tens of thousands of people and MSPs will be working with incomplete information.
There has been a steep decline in airgun offences in Scotland which have dropped from 683 offences in 2006/07 to 171 in 2012/13 – a drop of 75 per cent. The use of airguns is already heavily regulated. The law treats airgun crime as seriously as any other firearms offence.
BASC believes airgun licensing in Scotland is unnecessary and will prove to be a costly burden on police firearms licensing teams with little or no impact on criminals who misuse airguns.
Dr Colin Shedden, director of BASC Scotland, said: “For the last 18 years crime statistics have been published in the autumn. We have been told that 2014 figures for airgun crime will be a year late due to ‘difficulties in collating the data’. However, Police Scotland has referred to statistics for April to July 2014 in evidence given to MSPs.
“We have therefore submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Scottish Government for the missing information. We believe the significant reduction in airgun offences over time demonstrates that airgun licensing is unnecessary.
“The absence of the most recent statistical evidence at this critical stage of the licensing debate is unacceptable. Regulation must be based on solid evidence. Currently MSPs are being asked to legislate with incomplete evidence. They should be in full possession of the facts.”
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