001 Air weapons


SNP MSP for Falkirk East, Angus MacDonald, is encouraging owners of air weapons within his constituency, who have not yet applied for a licence, to decide now what they will do with their firearm when new laws come in to effect on 31 December.

In 2015/16, an air weapon was the main firearm in nearly half of all offences involving a gun in Scotland. The new law, which requires a certificate to own or use an air weapon, is designed to improve public safety by taking air weapons out of the hands of those who would misuse them.

From 31 December, having an air weapon without a licence will be a crime that could lead to a fine or, in some cases, imprisonment of up to two years. The deadline for applying for a licence ahead of the law coming into force was the end of October.

Anyone without a licence on 31 December must ensure their firearm is appropriately stored, until their licence application has been processed. This means safely storing the air weapon – for example, with a firearms dealer or another certificate holder.

Commenting, Angus MacDonald MSP said:

“Issues, as a result of the misuse of air weapons, are a daily occurrence for our Police and wildlife charities. They can be dealing with a range of incidents from anti-social behaviour to horrific and deliberate injuries to wildlife, pets and very occasionally people. By licensing air weapons we will protect our communities better by taking air weapons out of the hands of those who would misuse them.

“The Scottish Government has a long standing commitment to eradicating gun crime in Scotland, and this provides another step forward. This is not a ban on air weapons, simply a protection for communities, and the added security that those who have a licence are allowed to continue their legitimate use of air weapons in a safe environment.

“If you own an air weapon and haven’t had your application processed in time, make sure you’re not breaking the law by storing your air weapon in a safe and appropriate place.”

ACC Mark Williams, of Police Scotland, said:

“More than 17,500 unwanted air weapons have been handed in to Police Scotland for secure destruction since the summer, and anyone who still has an air weapon and does not want to apply for a licence can still hand it in. We have also received over 10,500 applications, however only those received before 1 November 2016, will be processed before the end of 2016.

“I would encourage anybody who hasn’t had their application processed by 31 December 2016, to avoid breaking the law by making alternative arrangements for their air weapon(s) to be with someone who already holds an air weapon or firearms licence, or lodging it with a registered firearms dealer, until they get their licence. If they are holding an air weapon without a licence after 31 December 2016, you may be breaking the law and risk prosecution.”

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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