Economics of airgun bill don’t add up

Airgun-2-300x199The new Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill will only impact adversely on legitimate users and not target criminals according to the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee.

When questioning civil servants on the financial elements of the proposed air weapons licence Kenneth Gibson MSP, Committee Convenor, said:

“Okay, a law-abiding citizen will grudgingly apply for that, but the folk whom you are most worried about will just not bother paying £85 to get a gun licensed, will they? Surely all that you will do is impact adversely on shooting clubs and their members.”

The Committee also discussed why no compensation would be offered for surrendered guns, the cost of the proposed licence and the cost of any subsequent appeals from those denied a licence.

Dr Colin Shedden, Director BASC Scotland, said: “Most of the pertinent points raised at the Finance Committee meeting earlier this month arose from BASC’s written submission on the fiscal effects of this Bill. We remain deeply concerned that this flawed legislation will only affect those who already act within the law. Those intent on mischief or criminal acts will be unlikely to approach Police Scotland for a licence, and then pay for it, a point underlined by the Committee Convenor.”

Alan Balfour, Chairman of BASC’s Scottish Committee, said: “Airgun licensing is one of the most important issues in shooting in Scotland. Existing certificate holders cannot understand why they will need to get a new licence and there must be tens of thousands of airgun shooters deeply concerned at the prospect of licensing being introduced.”

BASC Scotland has been calling on the Scottish Government to drop the proposal to licence the estimated 500,000 airguns in Scotland. A licensing scheme will be costly to introduce and with very little benefit to the public. In addition, crimes and offences involving air weapons in Scotland had fallen by 70% over the past six years showing that education rather than restriction works. The Local Government and Regeneration Committee will be publishing their Stage One report on the Bill at the end of March.

ENDS

For more information contact the BASC press office on 01244 573 052

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