Everyone knows the damage that can be caused by firearms and airguns that are used irresponsibly and dangerously. The Scottish Government is clear that it is not acceptable for communities to continue to suffer as a result of the selfish and stupid actions of those who treat guns as toys.
The Scottish Government respects the rights of those who use firearms and airguns safely and responsibly, but is taking action to stop those who would use weapons dangerously.
Air weapon licensing
The Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015 was passed by Parliament on 25 June, and received Royal Assent on 4 August 2015. Part 1 of the Act sets out a robust licensing regime for air weapons, which has been developed in consultation with Police Scotland and other stakeholders.
The introduction of licensing will deliver a manifesto commitment for the Scottish Government, and makes use of new powers devolved by the Scotland Act 2012. Air weapon licensing will make our communities safer and stronger by allowing the police to take potentially lethal weapons out of the hands of those who would misuse them. Legitimate shooters will be able to apply to the police for an air weapon certificate. Find out more about air weapon licensing.
Air weapons are only part of the picture. The current UK firearms legislation is not fit for purpose and it needs to be comprehensively reviewed. We either need action at a UK level, or the UK Government need to agree to devolve firearms legislation wholesale, to ensure that the law is better able to protect Scottish communities.
The Scottish Government will continue to work with Police Scotland, shooting and gun control interests, local authorities and others to do all we can to end the irresponsible and dangerous use of firearms in our communities. We in Government will continue to push for a firearms regime that is simpler to understand, administer and enforce, and which makes public safety its main goal.
Anomalies in the current law
There are a number of anomalies in the UK legislation as it stands, including:
- At present the minimum age for the grant of a firearm certificate is 14 years. There is no minimum age for the grant of a shotgun certificate
- If a problem were to arise with a registered firearms dealer, there is no provision to close the business immediately, as the Chief Officer is required to give a 'reasonable period of notice' before removing the name from the register
The Scottish Government is committed to arguing the case for a review of firearms legislation.