It saddens me to read this on the website of the regional paper, the Burton Mail. For two reasons.
One - that there are still a handful of mindless morons out there who tarnish the responsible reputation of the vast majority of airgunners with their utter disrespect of the law.
And two - that the ever-increasing number of laws this Government keeps introducing to impose further restrictions on young airgunners clearly isn't working. The 43 offences involving airguns - and we don't know, exactly, what those offences were, but that they involved 'air rifles and BB guns' - spiked between 15:00 and 18:00 which, the report suggests, implies a high proportion of young offenders.
When will they learn that the real issue is not about introducing a constant barrage of legislation, but effective education? Stopping youngsters being involved with airguns (in a responsible, controlled environment) is actually not conducive to teaching them the good rudiments of safe gun handling and a responsible attitude toward shooting?
I was taught how to handle a gun at a very early age, and I can actually clearly remember reprimanding my peers when they ever contemplated misusing the airguns we had access to as teenagers! Many kids 'want a go' with an airgun; why on earth don't we give them that go... but with all the expert guidance that will ultimately stop them misusing airguns?
However, I was heartened to read the end paragraph: "Officers are now regularly visiting schools to educate youngsters about the risks, dangers and consequences of using air weapons." Bravo! That's exactly what's needed - and I don't mind betting that, this time next year, the number of offences involving airguns will, actually, have fallen in the Derbyshire area!