Gamekeepers say no change required to air rifle law

SPORT organisations Countryside Alliance (CA) and the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) say a drop in gun crime shows there is no need to legislate on air rifles.

The Scottish Government’s latest figures show national gun crime is at its lowest since records began in 1980. Recorded offences fell 32 per cent, from 535 in 2011/12 to 365 in 2012/13.

The number of air weapons offences fell from 197 to 171 over the year, but they accounted for nearly half (47 per cent) of all the firearms offences in 2012-13, up 10 per cent on the previous year.

SGA chairman Alex Hogg said: “The gun licensing system we have is robust enough already without adding to it.

“The majority of those who would be affected are people who use air guns legally and responsibly for pest control or for sport shooting, which is worth millions to the Scottish economy. All these people are vetted as it is.”

His views are echoed by Countryside Alliance director for Scotland Jamie Stewart said: “The vast majority of those who use air weapons as part of organised pest control or shoot recreationally pose no threat to the wider public and do not require the draconian measures set down by the justice secretary.”

Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to introducing air weapon licensing.