The UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), notes the Government’s intention to devolve airgun legislation to Scotland.
BASC’s policy has always been to oppose the separation of power over Great Britain’s firearms laws which have already suffered from piecemeal and often illogical amendment.
BASC also notes that the shooting world in general is opposed to the devolution of airgun legislation to Scotland.
BASC will be taking this issue up in Westminster and Whitehall following the Queen’s speech in which she pledged to implement the recommendations of the Calman review of devolution. The recommendations include devolving powers over airguns.
BASC has asked for a meeting with Nick Herbert MP, the Justice Minister.
In the event of airgun law being devolved, BASC Scotland will work closely with Scottish Government officials to ensure that anyone with a need to have an airgun for professional or recreational reasons continues to have the ability to use them.
The organisation will also offer technical advice and expertise to help the Scottish Government formulate sensible legislation in this area. BASC Scotland is particularly concerned about any further restrictions on young people being able to use airguns for training and for experience of safe gun handling.
Dr Colin Shedden, BASC Scotland director, said: “BASC will continue to work to try and maintain firearms legislation as a reserved power. BASC’s position has always been to support unified firearms legislation in Great Britain. However it is now clear that both Governments in Westminster and Holyrood have indicated that the control of airguns should be devolved to Scotland. If that is the case BASC Scotland will work to protect the interests of all legitimate shooters. Recent figures have shown that airgun crime in Scotland has fallen by 23 per cent and that education and enforcement of existing legislation are the best ways to address any perceived problem.”
It is thought legislation to extend the new powers to Holyrood, contained in a Scotland Bill, may be launched in the autumn.