Animal Concern has written to all Scottish MPs urging them to take action to have firearms legislation devolved to Holyrood. This follows the failure of Home Secretary Charles Clarke to outlaw airguns in his recent review of criminal law.
John Robins, Campaigns Consultant to Animal Concern states: “Yet again we see the Labour Government for what it is – indecisive and afraid to take real decisions. Clarke could have banned airguns, instead he put the age for buying them up by one year to 18 – big deal. The Home Secretary could have rid the whole country of the scourge of airguns instead of doing some more useless tinkering with the law.”
“We were please when Jack McConnell took on our call for airgun ownership to be restricted to licensed pest control operators and to target shooting sporting gun clubs where the guns are kept under lock and key while not in use. We are pleased too that he continues to promise action on airguns but that's all hot air as the Home Office are the big guns in this issue. The First Minister can bark all he wants but he has no teeth as long as this matter is reserved to Westminster. We have been campaigning on this for decades – how much more suffering and death will be caused by air weapons before politicians get their act together.”
Our letter to MPs is copied below:
To all Scottish MPs.
Dear Member of Parliament for Scotland,
Home Secretary Charles Clarke has made his decision on airguns. He looked at the issue and decided to do next to nothing about them. It is not that long since the age for buying airguns went up to 17. That made no difference just as putting the age up to 18 will make no difference.
The only thing which will make a real difference is for airguns to be banned from ownership by the general public. Their use must be restricted to licensed pest control operators and to target shooting sporting gun clubs where the guns are kept under lock and key while not in use.
Mr. Clarke might have ignored that option because the police don’t want the hassle of dealing with it and he is scared that airgun owners will want compensation for giving up their guns. Those excuses are not good enough.
I ask you as MPs representing Scotland to persuade Westminster to devolve firearms legislation to Holyrood and let MSPs decide whether or not it makes any difference if you get your eye shot out by a 17 year old or an 18 year old.
John F. Robins,
For Animal Concern