Police Scotland launch airguns amnesty campaign


From BBC Website 20/05/2016

Police are launching an airgun amnesty ahead of new laws which make it illegal to possess one without a licence.

Seventy-two police stations across Scotland will be accepting the weapons during the three-week campaign from 23 May until 12 June.

The Air Weapon and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015 comes into force from 31 December 2016.

Powers to legislate on air rifles were devolved to Holyrood in 2012.

Gun owners can apply to have their weapons licensed if they wish.

The campaign to tighten airgun controls gathered momentum after the death of toddler Andrew Morton in Glasgow in 2005. He was shot in the head by a drug addict.

ACC Mark Williams said: “Protecting the public sits at the heart of everything we do and Police Scotland fully supports the new legislation and the more robust licensing arrangements that will be introduced.

“I would urge members of the public who own air weapons but don’t intend licensing them to take advantage of our surrender campaign.”

He added: “Remember, if you keep air weapons and don’t have a license you will be committing a criminal offence.”

A number of police officers have been given specialist training to support the airgun surrender process.

Police Scotland said advice on how to transport the weapons safely, and to find out where the nearest designation station was, could be found on their website.

The Scottish government ran a public consultation on the licensing scheme in 2013.

The idea was rejected by 87% of respondents – with some describing it as “draconian” and “heavy-handed”.

But the Scottish government said it was committed to licensing air guns and was looking for views on how this would work in practice.