Tag Archives: Licencing
The following comments were originally made available bellow our No to Airgun Licencing in Scotland campaign page, and are now available here instead.
Cross posted by Erika, with kind permission from John Cavell who originally posted the comment on the No to Airgun Licencing in Scotland Facebook page.
Hi all. I’m not Scottish, nor do I live in Scotland but I have just emailed my response to the proposals. For what it’s worth, here is what I said:
I strongly oppose the proposals to introduce a licensing scheme and other restrictions on the use of low-powered airguns in Scotland:
I believe the proposed licensing scheme will not achieve the stated objectives of the Scottish Government: “… to protect the people of Scotland from the problem of inappropriate and unsafe airgun use” and “… only those with legitimate reason … will be able to own an airgun.” People who use low-powered airguns inappropriately and unsafely will not be deterred by the requirement to possess a licence and nor will that requirement prevent anyone without legitimate reason from obtaining an airgun, just as the UK-wide ban on handguns has not prevented an explosion in the possession and use of handguns by criminals. It will simply hamper the safe and legitimate enjoyment of low-powered airguns by the vast majority.
There are already dozens of offences that can be committed by use/possession of low-powered airguns, covering every conceivable situation. More laws and further restrictions on law-abiding, legitimate users are not required. However, proper enforcement of the existing laws by the police would be welcomed (I speak as a victim of airgun crime in England where, to the best of my knowledge, the police took no action at all).
A licensing scheme for low-powered airguns will not reduce the already low and still falling numbers of airgun offences. Offences are committed either by criminals who, by definition, are unlikely to change their ways simply because a licensing scheme has been introduced, or by essentially law-abiding people who inadvertently fall foul of the law due to ignorance of the laws or by accident (without any malice). With some 500,000 airguns in Scotland, the proposed scheme is likely to lead to the criminalization of many law-abiding people who currently possess airguns but are unaware of any new requirement for a licence. One can imagine such a “firearms-related criminal record” would have a devastating impact on decent people’s careers, voluntary work, mortgage applications, etc.
The proposed scheme is completely disproportionate to the level of crime committed with low-powered airguns in Scotland (195 recorded offences in 2011-12 and falling). The considerable effort and money that would be required on the part of the Scottish Government and Police to put the proposals into force would be so much better employed in enhancing the fight against the vastly more serious problems of crime related to illegal drugs, alcohol-fuelled violence, serious motoring offences, domestic violence, etc.
The proposal to outlaw responsible “plinking” is unjustified and a severe infringement of law-abiding citizens’ right to the safe enjoyment of their pastime on their own private property. There are already many laws covering the use of low-powered airguns that prohibit pellets from passing the boundary of the property and protect most birds, animals and pets etc. Enhanced public awareness of these laws and enforcement when they are maliciously broken should be sufficient to continue the downward trend in low-powered airgun-related offences.
I urge the Scottish Government to reconsider its proposals. Low-powered airgun offences have been falling, and will no doubt continue to fall, as a result of some excellent public awareness work. Continue that work, and ensure the Police enforce the many existing laws. Invest the vast amount of money the scheme would cost and the considerable Police effort in administering it in an area where it will have a greater beneficial impact and will do more good.
Original comment by Stuart Smith:
I live right on the border between Scotland and England, I shoot on both sides of the border, say one day I take an air gun and not a firearm, I start in England, then break the law in Scotland, two parts of the same nation, does the offence count against you in England? Just one of the many problems arising.
Reply to the above by Dave Ewing:
Stuart- I think it would depend on if they caught you in Scotland or not and if they wanted to try and make an example of someone. What I think will happen is if it goes ahead in Scotland then the UK Government will try to follow suit. This is one of the reasons behind this page being set up to try and unite all gun owners in the UK and co-ordinate our actions against any unfair, unworkable legislation.
Original Comment by Charles:
Just a small observation on the united front presented by the Shooting fraternity. I have read that there are between half and two million Air Gun users in the UK as whole yet, although to be praised and celebrated, there are only circa 13600 Petition signatures. Perhaps the lobbying of MSP’s
directly was greater?
Reply to above by Erika:
I believe the turn out was significant, yet still disappointing given the numbers of people involved. Personally I believe that through decades of media bias, misinformation, and attacks to rights, many within the shooting community are fearful of getting involved and prefer to try and fly bellow the radar.
I hope this website can serve as a rallying call to unite and mobilize the shooting and other communities affected by such legislation.
Original reply by Stephen:
I read the consultation about the proposed licensing scheme and i don’t like the way that a “good reason” is being imposed upon the ownership of low powered airguns. That takes the airgun licence beyond a shotgun certificate, as one needs no “good reason” to possess a shotgun. All that is required is the desire to own it. It was also implied in the consultation document that informal target shooting, or plinking, would not be accepted as a good reason. In fact the document crowed that the Scottish government wants to stamp out plinking, though there is no obvious risk to public safety involved in it. I don’t live in Scotland so this law does not affect me directly but I do fear that in the event of Labour returning to power in 2015 the law would be imposed on England and Wales.
Reply to the above by Erika:
We share your fears Stephen which is why we created the sister campaign No to Airgun Licencing in England & Wales.
If you would to discuss this article, the issues it touches upon or anything else related to shooting sports or firearms ownership then please join us in the discussions on our Facebook page.
Please join us on our Firearms UK Facebook page to discuss this meme, or any other firearms and shooting related topics.
Bellow you will find an example of a letter you can send to your MP. The aim of the letter is to register your opposition to the licencing of Airguns, both in Scotland and in England and Wales. Crucially you can also use such a letter to request your MP to support lawful airgun owners, and to not support any proposals to introduce similar legislative changes as that suggested by the Scottish government for England and Wales.
To find out who your local MP is we recommend the use of a website called “WriteToThem”. On the website you simply enter in your postcode and it’ll provide you with details of your MP and offer a “letter mailing service”.
Dear Sir or Madam
I write to register my increasing concern with you over the events that have been taking place in Scotland over the issue of airgun licencing. Despite crime involving airguns being statistically insignificant the Scottish government are transfixed on forcing unnecessary and ill thought out restrictions against strong opposition, including a petition signed by over fourteen thousand.
My concerns are that regardless of the eventual outcome for Scottish airgunners, the proposals alone by the Scottish government will incite equally unfounded calls for similar measures to be applied in England and Wales. Airgun owners, as with legal firearms owners are overwhelmingly safe, responsible and law abiding people who just wish to pursue their hobbies or sport without needless bureaucracy and expense, which inevitably has a disproportionate impact on newcomers to the sport and those on a lower income.
I would ask that you do what you can to ensure your law abiding constituents don’t have to face similar discriminatory encroachments. Existing legislation is more than adequate to cater for any incidents of airgun misuse, as such I hope you agree that such proposals are not necessary and are a waste of resources, which can be better spent on genuine threats to public safety.
It’s been an exciting 6 months. When I first started the airgun petition I never imagined it becoming as popular as it did, this is down to a lot of hard work and support from many shooting organisations,magazines and the shooters that do bother to take action.
The shooting community has always been it’s own worst enemy when it comes to taking action to defend itself. Whilst 14,000 is a great number to achieve it is a miniscule amount of what it should be when one looks at the millions(yes millions) of people in the UK with an interest in firearms. Division is rife and many people do not bother if it does not affect their own particular section of the sport and in some cases even if it does! This apathy will destroy our rights.
The Scottish petition has been sent in with 14,193 petitions however when I attend the meeting with the Public Petitions Committee it would put us in an excellent position if the number of signatures has grown even more since then. If nothing else it will send a strong message to the Scottish Government and perhaps even the UK Government that shooters are not going to take it any more and we will fight back.
Having been featured in a recent article in the Sunday Express and with an upcoming feature in the Shooting Times our petition may get a second wind and achieve the even greater numbers we sorely need. With such publicity and popularity it puts us in a very good position to continue educating the public on the positives of gun ownership and shooting sports.
If we want to move on to greater things and win our rights back we must continue to support each other and keep up good communications. We must end the divide between us all. The anti gunners do not care what your reasons for owning a firearm are, they do not care about facts or logic they want rid of them all and we are helping them by failing to unite or remaining in a state of listlessness.
As we continue to move forward and the Firearms UK following grows we will need everyone to stand with us and let their voices be heard. We need everyone to do their bit in helping our campaigns. Please continue to share our petitions and pages with family and friends. I realise that I may be preaching to the converted when people are reading this but we must continue to gather our friends on board and get those people on the fence or sitting with their heads down standing tall and on our side.
We are law abiding citizens and it is time to say we will not accept punishment or criminalization for the minority of people who do abuse airguns and firearms.
I just noticed one of the comments on the petition page and it caught my interest.
“the government are pricing me out of the only sport i enjoy . try making people apply for a football supporters licence, more people are killed and injured in football violence than with an air gun”
Now again I don’t believe in any infringement of peoples civil liberties or increasing red tape that affects law abiding majorities more than irresponsible minorities but it’s an interesting thought isn’t it.
Imagine asking all the anti gun people out they who are football fans(I know a few) if they would support paying for a licence and having to provide good reason to watch a football game and that you could only do it in proper supporters clubs. They would hit the roof and go on about how ridiculous that sounds yet they support the same intrusive measures against another group of people who want to enjoy their sports and hobbies.
Perhaps then they will see the light and it might penetrate their brains as to the total sham this is.
100 years ago if they talked about licencing shotguns it would have been thrown out as ridiculous, 50 years ago talk of licencing airguns would have been laughed at.
Maybe 50 years in the future you will have to have a licence for your football games and every other aspect of your life will be controlled. Perhaps once the media and Government have whipped up a big enough frenzy it will become law. “Because something has to be done”
People had best be careful what they wish for because if you start to let Governments regulate every single thing just for the sake of it then we are on the slippery slope to totalitarianism.
I believe it has already started and if all the gun owners do not take a stand on this who knows where it will end. You can try and keep your head down and say nothing and hope they will leave you alone but guess what? If you do nothing and the law changes you won’t have your guns or your sports anyway. The only way is to stand up and be counted. Fight for it or lose it.
I’ll close with my own opinion on how to combat violence and crime in our society. Identify root causes of crime and try to eliminate them and punish those that ACTUALLY break laws and cause harm or lose to others. How many laws do we have now that create offences from nothing?
It is time to reclaim our liberties.
I apologise for the rather long rant and I’m sure some will perhaps disagree but please discuss it and leave any comments you have.
We have now launched our very own petition for the No To Airgun Licencing in England & Wales campaign. We hope to build on the momentum created with the similar campaign in Scotland to ensure that the idea of licencing low powered airguns as suggested by the Scottish Government goes no further than a mere idea within England & Wales.
Now that the Scottish Government have declared their intentions there are already petitions appearing calling for an introduction of the licencing of all airguns in England (high powered airguns are already licensed). We are strongly opposed to this, and would like to build upon an existing e-petition already in circulation to prevent such a change to existing legislation.
As with the Scottish campaign, the introduction of licencing or further restrictions as they apply to everyone will have a disproportionate effect on the law abiding, safe and responsible shooters and sportsmen and women. Such a licencing scheme will offer very little additional protection to the public who are already served by a myriad of laws on the sale, possession and use of airguns. The 2007 VCR act for example raised the age at which an airgun could be purchased from 17 to 18 and forced those selling airguns to become registered firearms dealers who are now not allowed to sell via mail order. From February 2011, the Crime and Security Act makes it an offence for a person in possession of an air gun to fail to take “reasonable precautions” to prevent someone under the age of 18 from gaining unauthorized access to it. Amongst additional well established law pertaining to the safe use of airguns it is also an offence to firing a pellet from the boundary of land which you have permission to shoot on. Those wishing to do harm will ignore such legislation, as they do so already, resulting in only the safe and responsible participants to face the burden, which we feel is unacceptable.
A Facebook Page for this campaign as now been setup and we encourage as many of you as possible to Like the page, upload content and to start and participate in discussions.
The first iteration of our No to Airgun Licencing in Scotland campaign page is now published.
The consultation on the proposals (more than just a licence is at stake) ends next Friday, and the online petition will be printed by 7pm tonight, though left running online. If you have not signed the petition or got involved please get involved now, there is a lot at stake and this is a very important issue, not just for Scotland but for the whole of the UK.