Tuesday, 25 October 2011

AIRGUN CRIME - Down by 45% in Scotland

The latest official figures released by the Government show that the number of offences in Scotland involving airguns has dropped by 45 per cent - down from 427 offences in 2009/10 to 233 in 2010/11. And this following a strong downward trend over the past five years - the figures actually show a 66% fall since 2006/07.

This is further evidence to demonstrate recent postings I've made in this Blog - that the extensive legislative powers already available to the authorities are more than adequate; there is simply no need for any more rules and regulations, and to impose any more is simply unfair on the vast majority of law-abiding airgun shooters.

The news will come as a significant blow to the Scottish authorities who have such an inane appetite to treat airguns differently, despite offering poor reasoning as to why. Exactly two years ago, the Scottish Justice Minister, Kenny MacAskill, tried to dismiss the then-dropping firearms crime figures by saying: "There is still more than one air weapon offence recorded each day... we are pressing the UK Government time and time again to let us take action on air weapons."

Well, this newest Government data shows that crimes involving airguns in Scotland are now significantly less than one a day - and, once again, the findings add further weight to the argument that the power to outlaw airguns should most certainly not be devolved to the Scottish Parliament (currently proposed as part of the Scotland Bill).

There is clearly no need whatsoever for Scotland to deal with airguns any differently from the rest of the UK - the Firearms Acts (and the many other statutes which indirectly impinge on airgun ownership and use) are more than enough to ensure the police and courts can deal adequately with the tiny minority of airgunners who choose to break the law.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Airgun Shooter Awards 2011

Got a favourite air rifle or pistol? Whether it be an old-timer or new-release, why not nominate it for an honour in the inaugural Airgun Shooter Awards?

Run in conjunction with the UK's best airgun magazine, Airgun Shooter (itself an award-winner!), everyone is eligible to vote in these awards, which include no fewer than 10 categories, from sub-£300 springers to CO2 rifles... to your ultimate No. 1 gun of 2011.

Full details and a guide to help you cast your votes are in the November 2011 edition of the magazine (available at thousands of UK newsagents from 13 October, and online at YUDUfree) - or you can shoot straight to the polling station by clicking here!

Voting closes on 14 December 2011

Monday, 10 October 2011

OFFICIAL: Government has no plans to licence, nor ban, airguns in the UK

Prompted by the tragic events last year in Cumbria, the Home Affairs Committee (HAC) of the House of Commons announced its intention to hold an inquiry into controls on firearms. 

Their ultimate aim was to examine whether there was a need to change any parts of the current shooting legislation as a means of preventing gun violence and protecting public safety. And even though a whole raft of new laws - the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003, Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 and Crime and Security Act 2010 - have indirectly imposed new measures on the control of airguns, they were still to be included in the inquiry.

The HAC inquiry was submitted to the Government in December 2010, and I've now got hold of their responses to the recommendations proposed therein. 

I’m pleased to report that the Government considers the misuse of airguns to be by a minority, and that the aforementioned Acts have made in-roads into reducing the airgun problems they perceived were there. (Note my use of the word 'perceived'!)

I’m even more pleased that they have finally put into writing that they have no plans to ban, nor licence airguns. In short, they accept that there is enough existing legislation to combat any problem.

However, we airgunners must not let that be an excuse to become lax – we must all still act with the utmost responsibility when we're undertaking our favourite pastime, and consider shooting airguns as a privilege, not a right. 

As you can see from the following key elements of the Government’s response to the question whether low-powered airguns should be incorporated into the firearms licensing regime, we must never take our airgunning for granted in this day and age.

The Government has no plans to ban or licence air weapons, the vast majority of which are used safely and responsibly, and prefers to tackle the minority who misuse air weapons. The Government agrees that enforcement of the wide range of existing controls referred to in the Committee’s report and which appear to have secured significant reductions in air weapon misuse since 2003-4, might usefully form part of police activity to deal with anti-social behaviour.

The Government will continue to monitor the misuse of air weapons and will not hesitate to take further action should this prove necessary.”

Friday, 7 October 2011


Yes! You read the header correctly - the BBC (regional Midlands channel) has aired a two-and-a-half-minute segment on their prime-time news show about airgunning... and it makes for an incredibly good piece of TV viewing.

It centres around Bell Target Shooting - the historic airgun sport that's been practised in the Midlands area of the UK for over 100 years (and which was once more popular than football).

I must tip my shooting hat to The Walton Lions Bell Target Shooting Club who invited the news channel to their excellently-run annual open evening. Their persistent attempts to get media coverage really paid off - because the news bulletin painted airguns more positively than I can ever recall the BBC doing in the past 30 years. No sensationalism, no digs, no criticisms (even though Bell Target's practised within pubs!) - just good, honest reporting to show how enjoyable air rifle shooting really is.

Well done the BBC - and The Walton Lions. Have a gander...