BASC is warning that more than 400,000 airguns could be unlicensed in Scotland when a new law comes into force on New Year’s Day.
The Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015 will make it an offence to possess an airgun without a specific licence or a temporary exemption granted to existing firearm and shotgun certificate holders.
Police Scotland have received over 10,000 applications for the new Air Weapon Certificate. Those received before October 31 will hopefully be processed before the new legislation comes into effect.
But that will still leave hundreds of thousands of guns unaccounted for – with convicted owners facing a fine or a custodial sentence, or both.
Dr Colin Shedden, BASC Scotland director, said: “With only a matter of days to go before the new airgun legislation comes into force, BASC is urging people to make arrangements for their guns and to apply for their Air Weapon Certificate.
“We cannot stress enough that people need to take appropriate action. You could be committing an offence as soon as the clock strikes midnight. People need to act before then.
“The most reliable estimate is that there are over 500,000 airguns in Scotland. Even excluding those owned by the 52,000 firearm and shotgun certificate holders, those already surrendered and those covered by the new licences, that leaves a large number of airguns unaccounted for.
“If individuals have not yet applied for their Air Weapon Certificate, or if they applied after 31 October, they will need to make arrangements for their airguns.
“There are several options available to them. They can either give it to someone who is currently licenced, sell the airguns to a registered firearms dealer or hand it in to their local police station.
“Those in possession of an airgun without a certificate after 31 December could face a custodial sentence and fine, or both.”